Does your dog get upset or engage in destructive behaviors when you leave him alone? Separation anxiety is a serious problem which can cause tremendous emotional distress for both dogs and owners. Misinterpreting its signs as simply "bad dog" behavior is one of the most common reasons for pet owners to give up their dogs.
A dog with separation anxiety, or separation-related distress, becomes abnormally anxious when separated from his owner. The severity of the anxiety and the behavior the dog exhibits varies from animal to animal. Separation anxiety can result in problematic behaviors such as: whining, pacing, salivation, barking, howling, scratching, chewing, digging, urinating or defecating, or destroying personal items or household objects.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from severe separation anxiety - especially if he is harming himself or your property - please consult with your veterinarian to find the best method of treatment. For milder cases, you may want to try one or more of the following tips to help support calmer behavior in your dog.
What Can I Do to Help My Anxious Dog?
- More exercise - Go for more walks and throw the ball more often. Tired dogs are naturally less anxious.
- Soften your departures & returns - Keep your departures and returns low-keyed and unexciting.
- Gradually lengthen periods of your absence - Stage several short departures/arrivals throughout the day, gradually lengthening each absence as your dog adjusts.
- Non-prescription calming products - A number of non-prescription calming products like our Ultra-Calm® Soft Chews for Dogs and Rescue Remedy use natural herbal formulas to help support calm behavior in your pet for short periods of 1-2 hours.
- Pheromone Plug-In - Many dog owners have seen a remarkable improvement in their dog's anxiety with a relatively new product, the Comfort Zone with Adaptil Diffuser Kit. Inserted in any wall outlet, and odorless to humans, it releases Dog Appeasing Pheromones (D.A.P) in the air throughout the entire room. Mimicking a new mother's natural pheromones, it reduces stress-related behaviors such as barking, whining, chewing, and soiling.