Separation Anxiety In Dogs - Signs, Causes & Solution To Anxiety In Dogs
Separation anxiety in dogs is a common issue faced by pet parents everywhere.
From following their parents around the room to creating havoc if they are left alone at home - actions that may seem a result of an untrained or undisciplined dog can be a sign of separation anxiety in dogs.
Important Discussion Points In This Guide
- What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
- Signs of Separation Anxiety
- Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety
- Preventing Separation Anxiety in Dogs
What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation anxiety takes place when a dog who is extremely attached to their pet parent feels stressed and anxious when the same parent leaves them alone.
This anxiety results in destructive activities like digging, barking and escape attempts.
A pet with separation anxiety is indeed a stressful and guilt-inducing situation for the pet parent and others who live around the dog.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
A few common signs of separation anxiety in dogs are:
- Chewing furniture, beds, slippers and other household items.
- Panting and salivating more than usual.
- Scratching and digging at doors and windows.
- Running in circles or pacing back and forth in an unusual manner.
- Trying to escape from the house when left alone.
- Stopping the pet parent from leaving the house through excessive barking and distress behavior.
- Toilet trained dogs urinating or defecating when left alone in the house.
Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
The cause behind your dog’s behavior is numerous. But remember that your dog is not trying to punish you - they are just extremely sad being left alone.
Other than you leaving them alone at home - a few other situations that could cause separation anxiety in dogs are:
- Change in Pet-Parent or Guardian - If they are under the guidance of a new foster parent or if an important human friend of theirs has moved away or does not visit them often it could lead to a case of separation anxiety in dogs.
For Example: If a pet parent who works from home has to get back to office - this can be triggering to a few pets.
- Change in Surrounding - If your dog has recently been adopted or if their home/usual surroundings have changed in the past few weeks - it could cause anxiety.
- A Traumatic Event - Separation anxiety in dogs can also be triggered due to events that took place when they were puppies - like being abandoned.
- Change in Routine - A sudden change in their schedule or usual routine could lead to anxiety in dogs.
Preventing Separation Anxiety in Dogs
As disheartening as it is to see your furbaby in distress - you should not punish your dog or yourself for their behavior. Anxiety in dogs if left unattended can also develop into a serious disorder.
So, to prevent this, as a pet parent you should try to find a solution to the situations that trigger anxiety in your dog.
- Use a Special Word - Introduce a new word or action that indicates to your pet that you are leaving the house and will be back. Use this consistently, so your dog associates the special word to your return.
- Introduce Toys or Treats - Have a special toy or treat in hand to give your dog when you are away from home. Make sure to give them this treat/toy only when you are away - this will help replace their anxiety with an enjoyable experience.
Use Puzzle Toys For Mental Stimulation In Your Pet
- Keep Your Arrivals Calm - Be calm when you leave the house and when you come back. We know it is hard, but try not to rush to your pet the second you enter your house. Instead, stay calm to reinforce the idea that your arrival/departure is a normal event.
- Use Your Old Clothes - Leave your clothes or a cushion that has your scent on it to calm your pet when you are away. This will give your pet a sense of security and aid them in staying calm.
Another way you can prevent separation anxiety in dogs is to provide them with due physical and mental stimulation through exercise, games etc.
Though the signs & causes of anxiety in dogs may vary, the majority of dogs of all breeds and age-group face anxiety in their lifetime.
Dealing with a pet with separation anxiety can be an uncomfortable process to go through but you need to understand that your Pooch’s behavior is the result of them missing you dearly.
Your fur-babies love you the most and like every other hurdle you've overcome with them - you will overcome this too!
Happy pet parenting!
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