Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety?
If you are a dog owner, you might be aware of the term – separation anxiety – and what it entails. Dogs that suffer from this problem start exhibiting distress and disturbing behavior patterns when left on their own.
Signs Of Separation Anxiety
Some of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety include:
● Scratching and digging at the doors
● Chewing on anything (stuffed toys, furniture, etc.)
● Constant howling and barking
● Inability to sit at one place
● Urine and defecation
Causes Of Separation Anxiety
Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety while others don’t. The reason for this has not been fully understood, yet one thing is very clear – your dog is suffering and he needs help. He is not deliberately trying to wreak havoc in your home. Try to understand your dog and the reasons that are triggering his anxiety.
They can be one of these-
● Having been left alone for the first time.
● Being left alone at home when he is habitual to having people around.
● Having suffered a traumatic event (abuse from the previous owner or at a dog shelter) in the past.
● Having lost a friend, a family member, or another pet friend.
● Major changes in the usual routine.
How To Treat Separation Anxiety?
There are various ways with which you can your dog’s separation anxiety. However, before you opt for any method, make sure to talk to an experienced vet and ask for his advice. Also, make sure that your dog does not have any medical issues, such as infections or hormone problems.
When The Problem Is Mild
1) Change your ‘goodbye’ and ‘I’m home’ signals. Use a different door, put your keys and purses in a different location, put on your clothes and shoes but don’t leave for ten minutes. The idea is to break your dog’s association with the actions that signal your departure.
2) Don’t directly greet your dog before leaving and after entering your home. Stop for a few minutes, and then calmly pet him. By not paying too much attention to your departure and return, you will be reinforcing a sense of calm in your dog.
3) It is a good idea to treat your dogs with food before you leave to distract him.
4) Take your dog for exercise 30 minutes before your departure. It will tire him out and make him rest while you can leave.
5) You can also use an over-the-counter calming product to reduce fearfulness in your dog.
6) Try to establish a word that tells your dog that you will be back every time you leave.
7) Train your dog to be alone even when you are in the house. This will make him feel safe when you go out.
8) Create a ‘comfort space’ for your dog where he can retreat to for getting a nap or feeling happy again. Equip it with a nice dog bed and calming treats.
When The Problem Is Severe
1) Confine your dog loosely with stuffed toys and treats in a room. Make sure he feels comfortable and not isolated.
2) Put on light music and keep different distractions for your dog.
3) Leave your dog with your recently worn clothes that have your smell. It will make him feel like you are still there.
Useful Tips That Can Help
1) Ask your veterinarian if he can give your dog a drug therapy to reduce his anxiety.
2) Take your dog to a doggie daycare facility to distract him when you have to be away.
3) Make your friends, neighbors, and other family members get acquainted with your dog. This way, you can leave your dog at their care while going out.
Remember, your love and care is the best remedy your dog will ever have. Help him overcome his anxiety by being patient with him and following the tips mentioned above. If you need any further help (guidance or a shelter for your dog’s care), our experts at Dog Day Afternoon would love to help!