Ease dog separation anxiety – Top Tips

8 Mar, 2023

Ease dog separation anxiety – Top Tips

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Every petowner will likely find it difficult to leave their pet when they travel for the first time. And some pets, especially dogs, suffer more than others. There are ways to help ease dog separation anxiety. Here are our top tips to help you calm your particular pooch in your absence.

What is dog separation anxiety

Some dogs become anxious and exhibit nervous behaviours if their normal minder or guardian leaves them alone for a while. It is one of the most common complaints that pet parents make when they think they detect dog separation anxiety. They say that their dogs are disruptive or destructive when left alone.

Dogs might urinate, defecate, bark, howl, chew, dig or try to escape. Although these problems often indicate that a dog needs to be taught polite house manners, they can also be symptoms of distress.

When a dog’s problems are accompanied by other distress behaviors, such as drooling and showing anxiety when his pet parents prepare to leave the house, they aren’t evidence that the dog isn’t house trained or doesn’t know which toys are his to chew. Instead, they are indications that your pet has dog separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety  can be triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they’re attached to.

Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors.

Severe separation anxiety in dogs can be extensive and cause extremes in behaviour.

How to ease dog separation anxiety when you’re away

ease pet separation anxiety
Ensure that your dog’s routines are maintained in your absence

How to help your dog with separation anxiety

Leaving your pup behind when you go on a trip can be difficult, and for some dogs, the separation is even more difficult to manage. Separation anxiety is not uncommon and can make leaving your pup even more challenging. However, with proper preparation and some helpful tips, you can help ease your dog’s anxiety while you are away. 

Prepare your dog for the change

Before embarking on your journey, it’s important to prepare your dog for the change of environment. Introduce them to their pet-sitter in advance so that they have time to get accustomed with one another and explain their likes/dislikes, routines, etc.

Provide familiar items

It’s also a good idea to provide familiar items like their favorite blanket or toy as these items have your scent on them, making the transition easier for your pup.

It may also be helpful to leave something with your scent on it with your pup when you go away. This could be an article of clothing or even just a scarf that has been worn close to the skin so that they can have something familiar with them while you are gone.

Consider dog separation anxiety training

Prepare for your long absence or holiday by beginning to leave your dog for short time stretches alone in the day.  Then after a day few days with short absences begin to have someone sit with your dog in your absence. And then increase the time periods when you personally are away. This should begin to help your dog become more tolerant of your absence.

Consider CBD as a calming aid

There has been scientific and anecdotal evidence supporting CBD oil for dog separation anxiety, by regulating the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. It may also help to reduce symptoms of restlessness, excessive barking, and destructive behavior.

A study by Cornell University found 83% of dogs to show a decrease in stress and anxiety behaviors when administered CBD.

Find a dogsitter to stay in your home

ease dog separation anxiety
Finding a good dogsitter can really help settle your pet

Keeping your dog at home while you are away is a step towards helping them stay more relaxed and keeping dog separation anxiety at bay. Finding a good checked petsitter is a step to helping you feel more relaxed and also and more importantly to relax your pet. Of course there are other tips too that will ensure you guide the dogsitter while you are away.

  • Keep a consistent routine – In addition to providing familiar items, it’s important to keep a consistent routine while you are gone.  Ensuring a dog sitter is there to maintain their routines and keep them safely at home will help to minimise dog separation anxiety. Maintaining regular meal times, exercise routines and bedtime schedules can help your dog better adjust to their new environment. Let your pet-sitter know of any daily activities or special instructions that will make life easier for both you and your pup while apart.
  • Keep in touch – It’s also important to stay in touch with your pet-sitter while away. If you can speak with your dog on a video call or through a phone call so they hear your voice. Knowing that you’re still around can give them a sense of security and comfort and avoid dog separation anxiety.

Stay positive

Lastly, try to stay positive and calm when interacting with your pet-sitter or speaking on the phone. Your pup is sensitive to your emotions and can pick up on any anxiety or stress that you are feeling. Patience is also key as it may take some time for your pup to adjust to their new surroundings.

With proper preparation and understanding, you can help avoid any dog separation anxiety and make the transition go as smoothly as possible.

How to ease dog separation anxiety in summary

Holiday Dog Sit
Dogs love company and routine

In conclusion, dealing with separation anxiety can be challenging, but with the right preparation and some helpful tips, you can help your dog feel more comfortable while you’re away. By staying in touch, providing familiar items, using additional calming aides, and keeping a consistent routine, you can help your pup feel safe and secure until you return home.

What makes dogsitters great?

Many homeowners start their search for their dogsitters in the local neighbourhood. Usually we approach neighbours, friends in dog clubs or perhaps our dog clipping service. Some other homeowners go straight online to see what a search for ‘local dogsitters’ or dogsitters near me will yield. It is important to consider what makes our ideal petsitters or dogsitter.

Finding a dog sitter

Having a dogsitter at home can make for an easier more relaxed time for your dog. Keeping a dog old or young at home ensures that they are near their familiar items and smells at home. It relaxes them and helps them be a little more relaxed while you are away.

What makes dog sitters great?

Many homeowners start their search for their dogsitters in the local neighbourhood. Usually we approach neighbours, friends in dog clubs or perhaps our dog clipping service. Some other homeowners go straight online to see what a search for ‘local dogsitters’ or dogsitters near me will yield. It is important to consider what makes our ideal petsitters or dogsitter.

Organising the dogsitter
  • Check professional dog sitting prices – You may want to hire a professional dogsitter. If so you will be ready to pay the daily rate. And if you are away overnight or for a longer period you may wish to agree a set rate for your period of absence. In the UK dog sitting prices vary from £ 10 per day up to £ 50 + per day.
  • Consider an in-home dog sitter – So if you are to cover all your holidays with a holiday dog sitter the total annual price for dogsitting can add up significantly. So it is worth considering alternative options such as an overnight pet sitting in my home.
  • Petsitting and housesitting websites – One relatively new and effective alternative comes in the form of petsitting and house sitting websites. usually there is a nominal administrative fee to joining. Once you have joined as a pet owner and homeowner you create a profile and post an advert.
  • Professionally run housesitting platform – The good and professionally run sites will then check your ID for the safety of all those in the network. Sitters are also checked and their current police and background checks are displayed alongside their sitter reviews.
  • Free petsitters and housesitters – The other perhaps major advantage is that the sitters are for free. They wont charge you for dogsitting in your home.
  • In house dog sitting – There are many sitters who are happy to move into your home to care for your pets. Or you could hire dog sitters at their home.

Rent free living in exchange for petsitting

Joining such a petsitting website can save you a great deal of money. And you can find remarkably well experience dogsitters, dog handlers and dog lovers.

The deal – Free dogsitting

Sometimes these dogsitters are local. They may be happy to pet sit for free to earn reviews in order that they can travel further afield. Sometimes you may be petsitters offering to help you for free because they have come to petsit from abroad and this is their way of managing their budget. It is a way these dogsitters fund their travel overseas by exchanging their skills in home and pet care for free accommodation.

Click here to learn more about dog sitter services through HousesitMatch.com

Click here to learn more about becoming a dog sitter with HousesitMatch.com


Further reading on housesitting, petsitting and pet care

At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.

Puppy training Top Tips for new dog owners

The Affordable Alternative to Dog Kennels

What is House Sitting?

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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