No dog likes it when their owners leave, but some take it harder than others. They get nervous when their owners leave the house, destroy things when they’re gone, and they constantly follow their owners around when they’re home. If this sounds familiar to you, chances are your dog suffers from separation anxiety.
It is as it sounds—your dog gets anxious every time you two are separated, like when you leave for work or go on vacation. It’s a result of your dog getting super-attached to you, which is great that they love you so much, but can cause serious problems when you’re away from them. Here are some of the signs of separation anxiety:
- Barking, howling, and/or whining
- Chewing, digging, and/or scratching
- Urinating and/or defecating
- Escaping the house
How to Treat It
These symptoms can be hard to deal with, but the good news is that there are ways to treat it. The treatments vary, however, depending on how mild or severe the case is.
For Mild Separation Anxiety:
- Give your dog a puzzle toy stuffed with food every time you leave the house
- Leave old clothes that smell like you with your dog
- Don’t make your return a big deal. Ignore your pup (as hard as it may be) for the first few minutes after you get home
- Consider over-the-counter calming products
For Severe Separation Anxiety:
This one can be a bit more complicated to deal with, but it is doable. First, you’ll want to create a “safe place” for your dog in a separate room when you’re gone. Put blankets and toys in the room, as well as any of your worn clothes. This will isolate any destructive behavior while making them feel protected.
When it’s time to leave, put them in the room but don’t leave right away. Make the process slow. Put on your shoes, then sit down for a few minutes. Next, pick up your keys, then sit back down again. Stretch out each step so your pup starts to feel less anxious. When you finally have to go, tell your dog to stay and slowly exit the room.
This process can take time, so if you need extra help, go to your veterinarian, or try out our pet sitting services. We’ll be more than happy to take care of your pup while you’re away!