Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious problem and one that has become more and more frequent in our pets. If your dog becomes restless when you leave him alone at home, destroys your furniture or objects, barks and/or relieves himself inside the house, keep reading. In this article we will tell you why he behaves like this and what actions you can take to prevent it and/or help you solve this problem.
What is separation anxiety in dogs?
Separation anxiety in dogs is a behavioral disorder that is characterized by a reaction of stress, anxiety or anguish that your dog can reach when it is separated from you or from any of the other members of the family. In other words, for your dog you are his reference and guide. He knows that you provide him with protection, that you are his safe zone. So when you leave or get away from your dog, he might not cope very well.
Currently, separation anxiety is an increasingly frequent problem . It is estimated that, in countries like the United States, around 14% of the canine population suffers from it. And the real problem with anxiety in dogs is
that begins to negatively affect their well-being, the bond and coexistence with our pets can be affected and complaints may occur from the neighbors.
For all this, it is very important to recognize that there is a problem and start treating it as soon as possible.
Symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs
If your pet has separation anxiety, you may notice some changes in his behavior. So pay attention when you have any of these symptoms:
- Excessive vocalization. The dog barks, whines or moans excessively, it may even howl to warn of its presence and complain about its loneliness.
- Destructive behavior at home. By staying alone at home, your puppy can destroy objects, furniture or spread garbage.
- Do your business inside the house. If your dog is well-trained and never urinates or defecates inside the house, this unusual behavior may be key to wondering if something is wrong with him.
- Vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms occur in the most severe cases of anxiety.
Although the main symptoms were mentioned above, you must be aware of other secondary symptoms that are more difficult to detect, symptoms that may also be related to separation anxiety disorder in dogs:
- Hypersalivation : He drools excessively and sometimes when the owner returns they may find puddles of saliva on the floor of your house.
- Anorexia : Not eating or drinking anything in the absence of its owner.
- Hyperventilation : Constant panting.
- Sweating : Sweat marks from paws spread throughout the house or near doors and windows.
- Signs of depression : Ignoring his toys, shows inactivity or apathy.
- Self-mutilation : Excessive licking on your body that can hurt yourself.
Your dog may display one, two, or more of the symptoms described above. Separation anxiety can even appear in separations of short duration, just a few minutes.
How long does separation anxiety last?
Separation anxiety in dogs can last for several days, weeks, or even months, depending on the severity of the anxiety and the treatment the dog receives. Some dogs can overcome separation anxiety in a short time with proper treatment, while others may take longer and may need long-term treatment.
Causes of separation anxiety
There are different reasons why your dog may suffer from anxiety, we share some of the most common causes:
- Hyperattachment to its owner or family. Some dogs are too attached to their owners and this could be the cause of problems related to separation anxiety.
- Traumatic experiences that occurred while he was in the absence of his owner. Some dogs are too attached to their owners and this could be the cause of problems related to separation anxiety.
- Early weaning. Puppies separated from their mother before 8 weeks may be more prone to separation anxiety.
- Changes in the environment. Sometimes a move, a change in routine or schedules, the arrival of a new member to the family can cause separation anxiety disorder.
- Insecure bond with its owner. Some experts talk about the possible incidence of the type of affective bond between the dog and its owner.
How to correct separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a behavioral problem that can be treated and controlled early, however you can start working on these small steps to begin to prevent or correct separation anxiety.
- Create a routine: Get your dog used to reading the signs that tell him that you are going out. For example, putting on a coat, taking the keys... You can also schedule their activities, such as their daily walks, hours of play, eating their food, having routines helps them reduce their anxiety.
- Try leaving stimulants around the house: Puzzle feeders are a great way to reduce anxiety and keep pets mentally stimulated and busy throughout the day. You can also leave toys for him to entertain himself.
- Stay calm: If you stay calm, you will convey that to your pet, it will notice and follow your example. Do not lengthen the goodbyes or give too much importance to the fact of leaving home and leaving it. Keep goodbyes affectionate but brief.
- CBD Dog Test: At Waggy's , we only use CBD Isolate exclusively from the hemp plant. To ensure the quality of our products, and really bring the benefits of CBD to our customers. If you also want to reward him with a prize, we suggest relaxing dog treats:
And finally, never punish your dog in case of destruction, barking or disorder in your absence. This could increase your anxiety and promote it to happen again.
How to calm a dog when left alone?
Dogs, when left alone, experience different feelings mainly boredom and sadness, to prevent your dog from destroying the house while you are away, follow these important tips to support him the next time he is left home alone.
- Play music or sounds in the background. Putting on music or leaving the TV on when you leave the house is a good companion for your pets, it can offer them some comfort and distraction, and having the sound of other human voices makes them feel accompanied.
- It scents the environment. Place diffuser oils or flower essences around your home to help him calm down and find calm throughout the day.
- Provide him with a “survival kit” for when he is left alone. Provide a comfortable and safe space where your dog can stay alone with his food dishes, his bed, chew toys, and a space for his physiological needs, he must learn to stay in the place.
- Help your dog cope with your absence with treats. Waggy's treats or relaxing CBD oils may be a suitable option to keep your dog calm and relaxed in stressful situations, since cannabidiol works as an anxiolytic, reducing anxiety indicators. Even the use of CBD can be a beneficial supplement for the general health of your pet, since it regulates important activities of his body. To learn more about CBD, visit our article Uses and Benefits of CBD in Dogs - What is it and what is it for? .
How to achieve detachment from dogs?
Dogs with separation anxiety experience a very high level of stress. However, never leaving them alone is not a solution. Especially in our day to day, this is almost never possible. Call the dog sitter every time you have to go to the supermarket for a moment? This is also not feasible.
For this reason, in order to achieve a harmonious coexistence between dog and person, it is essential that the dog understands that it cannot follow you everywhere you go. Also, the calmer he is in your absence, the more relaxed you will go to your commitments.
In conclusion, dogs are social animals that love to be in the company of their owners, however; Separation anxiety is something that can happen to your dog and correcting it is not an easy task. If in doubt, always consult your vet and seek the help of a canine anxiety specialist.
With patience and a lot of love you can get your dog to overcome his fears and you will make him feel more comfortable and calm being alone at home.