10 Steps to Help Manage Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a serious problem that quite a few dogs suffer from. Because of their fear, dogs will do many things, such as chew items or even try to escape from your living space. While this problem is caused by a few different problems, there are some ways you can help your dog to be free from this behavior. If you’re looking for ways to help cure dog anxiety, you’ll want to keep reading. Below you’ll discover more behind the causes and symptoms of it and ten steps you can use to help treat it.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Dog Separation anxiety is when a dog is fearful and anxious to be by themselves. To cope with their anxiety, they will do many things, include secluding themselves or becoming very violent and destroying things. Some might also hurt themselves as a way to help calm themselves down.
Separation Anxiety vs. Destructive Behavior
While separation anxiety and destructive behavior might seem similar, they have a few differences. One of the most notable is when the behavior is done. Because a fearful dog is scared but still trying to please you, they will do their symptoms away from you and in secret. On the other hand, if a dog has a destructive behavior, it won’t matter where you are as they will continue their harsh behavior even if you’re near them. This is one of the main ways you can tell whether or not your dog has a separation anxiety problem.
What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation anxiety in dogs can be caused by a few things. Below are some of the most common reasons it occurs.
A Change in Family
Sometimes being put into a new family, such as if your dog is adopted, can bring about separation anxiety in dogs. This is because your dog might not be used to their new family members and could feel very nervous and upset due to that.
A New Schedule
A new schedule could also cause separation anxiety in dogs, especially if they are used to a specific one. If your pet is suddenly left alone by themselves for hours, it could make them concerned and nervous. Because of this, their new schedule could cause them to develop separation anxiety. This is why it’s often recommended that you gradually introduce your dog to a new schedule.
There is a New Living Space
If your dog is introduced to a new living space, they might be confused and scared. Because of this, it could make them fearful when you leave because they don’t like to be left alone in it.
A Traumatic Event
A few dogs might develop separation anxiety after experiencing a traumatic event. This could have been after an injury, a bad time at the dog park or kennel, or even from a previous owner. Due to this, a dog could end up having this problem because they don’t know how to deal with the event that caused them extreme trauma.
Dog Separation Anxiety Symptoms
There are a few symptoms that can be caused by dog separation anxiety. Below are some of the most common ones that you might find your dog suffering from.
Urination is a common symptom of dog separation anxiety. This is because they are so nervous and fearful it makes it hard for them to hold their bladder. Because of this, they will urinate in different areas unintentionally but try to hide the fact that they are doing so.
Chewing and destroying household objects is another way a fearful dog works to help calm themselves down. This is often on hard items, like furniture, walls, and doors and it helps them to release tension they might be having due to their anxiety. In addition to destroying the items they are chewing, it can also be harmful to your dog’s health as it could cause chipped teeth and cuts on their paws.
They are Hurting Themselves
Some dogs might try to deal with their anxiety by chewing on themselves. This can lead to them losing fur in certain areas and developing wounds and sores.
Barking and Howling
Many dogs will bark and howl to help keep themselves calm. However, unlike regular barking which will last for a few seconds or be sporadic, dog separation anxiety barking and howling will be consistent. Your dog will not stop making noises until you come back to them.
Shaking is another sign of separation anxiety. Some dogs will become so fearful of being by themselves that they will shake or tremble excessively due to nervousness. This could make it hard for them to move around because it’s so bad.
Some dogs will also pace up and down an area in a specific pattern to help calm their anxiety. Many will walk in straight lines while others might walk around in circles.
Multiple Attempts at Escaping
Another symptom of separation anxiety in dogs is that your dog will try to escape from their living space. Dogs will try to escape from the space where they are confined by gnawing gates, trying to claw furniture, or even attempting to break open windows by chewing them.
Drooling can be a sign that your dog is stressed and anxious. While some dogs will drool a lot due to their breed, if they are leaving behind puddles of salvia that doesn’t stop, it can be a concern. Sometimes this can be a sign of a certain medical condition, such as periodontal disease, but most of the time it is a way their body deals with stress.
This condition is when your dog defecates and then consumes it. By eating their excrement, they are trying to prevent you from being upset due to this behavior they know is wrong. Because of this, they often will do this in a hidden area away from you.
Dealing with Puppies: Puppy Separation Anxiety Solutions
Puppies are known for having extreme separation anxiety for a few reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that they often are scared due to their new surroundings. This can overwhelm them and cause them to become very anxious.
To help with this, you can consider crate training your puppy or making sure they get enough exercise. However, despite them being young pups, you can still use older dog separation anxiety methods with them which you’ll find below. It’s often easier to help puppies with separation anxiety ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2053248 ) as they are still new to things, unlike grown dogs who might be more skeptical and fearful.
However, keep in mind that puppies are very energetic and because of this will do many things that might resemble separation anxiety, such as chewing and running/pacing. Because of this, make sure your puppy isn’t showing signs of regular puppy behavior before you try to treat them for separation anxiety.
Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions: 10 Steps to Managing Separation Anxiety in Dogs
If you’re looking for dog separation anxiety cures, you’ll want to check out these ten dog separation anxiety tips. They will show how to help a dog with separation anxiety in safe and natural ways.
Ignore Your Pup
As hard as it might be, sometimes you might need to ignore your pet. Some dogs might be using separation anxiety symptoms as a way to get your attention and encourage you not to leave them. While you can talk to them before you leave, don’t give in to their attempts at trying to prevent you from leaving them alone. They will eventually see that trying to get you to stay through various means won’t work which can help to calm them down in some ways.
Give Them Something New to Do
Some dogs might have separation anxiety because they are bored and have nothing else to do. Because of this, you can try to keep their mind active with something new to do. You can get them a new toy, like a dog puzzle which will make your use their mind to try to release a treat inside it. This can help time to pass quickly for them, and before they know it, you’ll be back!
You can find unique toys to give your dog at most pet stores. They will help your dog to think which will not only help to keep them calm, but ensure their brain stays active and healthy as well.
Use a Dog Crate
If your dog is extremely violent with their anxiety, a dog crate might be a good idea. This way, they won’t cause destruction to your living space or try to escape. Some dogs might also like having a crate as it can be a safe space for them.
However, if you prefer to not keep your dog in a dog crate, you can instead create a small space for them in your living space. This can include a bed, toys, and other things. The space can be an area where they can go when they feel scared which can help to keep them calm and know they have a space they can call their own. You could also fill this space with some of your old clothing, like shirts, which they can cuddle up with while you’re gone.
Give Them Something to Look Forward To
Another way to help dog separation anxiety is to give them something to look forward to. For instance, every time you come home, give them a unique treat that your pet only gets when you arrive back. This will give your dog something to look forward to and help to prevent them from feeling helpless and scared and they’ll be excited to have their treat. InnovetPet offers some delicious, taste-bud enticing CBD Dog Treats that you might want to consider!
Do Dog Separation Anxiety Training
Another dog separation anxiety treatment is to try training. While there are professional options available, you can also try out some methods on your own. This includes being positive with your dog and rewarding them when they are calm. You can also work on helping them be more independent by giving them toys or treats they can play with or chew on for a bit. You can eventually start to slowly leave them alone by themselves at longer periods of time.
Make Sure Your Dog Gets Exercise
Sometimes by letting your dog exercise and get all of their energy out, it can help to reduce symptoms of their anxiety. Because they will have released a majority of their energy, they will rest and take naps while you are gone. This can help to calm destructive behavior while also preventing them from becoming tense. One of the best exercises to do with an anxious dog is running. Running helps them to quickly get their energy out while letting them have fun.
Play Background Music
A unique thing to try to help keep your dog calm is to play some background music in your living space while you’re out. In fact, multiple studies have been done which show tranquil music can help to keep an anxious dog calm. There are some specific dog playlists and CDs you can invest in which are created specifically for dogs. You could also put some classical music on for them.
Don’t Leave Them Behind for Too Long
If you know your dog has extreme anxiety, it’s a good idea to not leave them alone for too long. While this isn’t to say you need to rush home immediately, don’t spend all day out without checking up on your dog. By leaving them alone for hours, your dog will be unable to handle it which could end up making their symptoms worse.
Use Calming Cues
Another thing you can use to help keep your dog with separation anxiety is to use calming cues with them, like “I will be back, or “You’re a good girl/boy.” This will help your dog to see that you are calm which helps them to trust you and try to remain calm as well.
Try All-Natural Methods
You could also work to help calm separation anxiety dogs by using holistic methods.
One of the best things to give your dog to help calm them down is chamomile. Chamomile will help to keep your dog’s gastrointestinal tract to prevent them from urinating and defecating due to their anxiety. In addition to this, it helps to soothe their nerves and can calm their stomach which can be irritated when they are stressed.
This colorful flower helps many dogs stay calm and is often used as a sedative for both canines and humans. This natural option also helps with relieving pain and is prescribed by vets to help with separation anxiety. You’ll find passionflower supplements designed for dogs you can give your pet.
St John’s Wort
This herbal remedy helps treat anxiety and stress in dogs and is used to help treat these problems without making your dog drowsy. This solution can be given in supplemental form or with topical oil you can apply to their skin.
Vitamin B is another helpful all-natural method to stop pet separation anxiety. It helps to keep the nervous system healthy while also boosting the immune system. You can give your pet Vitamin B supplements or feed them food high in this vitamin, like liver, eggs, cheese, and meat.
Acupuncture works to stimulate the nervous system which can help it to function better. It can also soothe your dog’s nerves and keep them calm. After most sessions, the acupuncturist will also give your dog a massage which can also keep them calm. While a few appointments will be necessary for best results, the end result will be well worth it.
CBD oil can also help to keep your dog calm. This oil works to calm the neurotransmitters in your dog’s brain by tricking them. This can stop anxiety and stress and help them to stay happy and calm. You can give your dog CBD oil treats or buy some oil and mix it into their food. You could also take the oil and massage it on their body so it soaks into their skin.
Keep in mind though that regardless of the holistic treatment you decide to do, talk things over with your vet. They will be able to help guide you through the right choices to give your dog as well as the correct amounts if you plan to give them specific food or CBD oil for pets. However, if you find that your dog still doesn’t seem to calm down with these holistic approaches, your vet might need to prescribe them medications to help their panic disorder.
Dog separation anxiety is a serious problem that not only affects your dog, but your life and living space as well. It can be difficult to find ways to help relieve them from whatever stress and anxiety they might have, but there are a few methods to consider. By using things like background music to calm an anxious dog, all-natural methods, and even training, you can help to keep your dog calm when they are by themselves.