Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Dog Separation Anxiety Symptoms
A dog that cannot bear to be parted from you, that follows you round the house, into every room including the loo, seems almost flattering doesn’t it? Then you realise this dog is so dependent on your presence 24/7 that when you leave them home alone, even for a few minutes, they get so upset that they howl and/or bark inconsolably, perhaps take their stress and frustration out on your sofa, your carpet, the doorframe, whatever they can get hold of and generally get themselves into such a state that when you come home they’re panting with stress. Some dogs will, even though normally clean and housetrained, mess in house too. If any or all of the above sounds familiar you have a dog with separation anxiety.
How to help a dog with Separation Anxiety
Well, prevention is always the best policy so if you have a new puppy, or even an older dog who is a new addition to your household, make sure you build in ‘time on their own’ to their new routine. This doesn’t have to be for long, just 10 minutes away from them, while you walk to the post box or whatever will do. Just so they get the idea that it’s no big deal being left home alone. By the same token, leaving the house should be low key and not a major stress building production of goodbyes and when you come home the first thing you do is NOT to greet the dog and make a huge fuss of them. Again the idea is not to make it a huge stress building occasion but once you’re in perhaps you can sit down, call the dog to you and then make a fuss of them. Hopefully doing the above will help to make sure your dog doesn’t become one who suffers from separation anxiety.
Top tips for stressed out dogs
- Leave the radio or TV on when you go out. You can also try making a recording of your voice, just family chatter will do, and leave it playing constantly while you’re out. On YouTube you can search for videos for dogs to watch which include birds and squirrels or just relaxing music!
- Make sure that before you leave home your dog doesn’t need to toilet and has had a walk. The theory is that a tired dog will sleep, just as they would if you were at home.
- Some dogs need entertainment while you’re out. If they’re not the TV watching types as outlined in tip 1 then try giving them a toy for entertainment, preferably one that includes a food reward. Things like Kongs stuffed with cheese or peanut butter (peanut butter must NOT contain xylitol which is lethal for dogs and preferably no salt either) or perhaps a ball that as it rolls around drops out morsels of tiny treats. Because of the potential for choking be wary of leaving your dog home alone with rawhide chews or any bone.
- The crate. A properly crate trained dog should not regard the crate as a prison but as a safe place to rest and relax. Put a bed into the crate, leave the door open and encourage your dog to sleep there. Do not close the door of the crate on your dog until they are truly relaxed and comfortable being in there and even then, only keep them shut in for a short space of time gradually building up to perhaps a max of 2 hours while you nip to the shops. Crates should NOT be used if you’re going to be out for the whole day! Crate training a small puppy is usually quite easy, crate training an adult dog, perhaps one that has come to you through rescue and has an unknown past, can take a whole lot longer.
Dog Separation Anxiety Calmers
Sometimes, for some dogs, despite your best endeavours, they are going to have a panic attack every time you leave the house or perhaps the tips above are starting to take effect but you feel you need some extra help to kick the separation anxiety habit. This is where some natural calming supplements can help. Click here to view the range that we sell. Finding the right calmer for your dog may be a case of trial and error. What works for one dog may not work for another. So if you try one and it doesn’t have the desired effect, don’t be put off. Try a different one.
Consider CalmXtra. This contains Valerian, Oat, Skullcap, Passionflower, Wild Lettuce and Jamaican Dogwood and can be given up to 20 minutes before a stressful event. It is a liquid herbal tincture which you can add to food or put on a treat. Also, great for fireworks night although it may make your dog a little drowsy.
Or why not try our Separation Anxiety All in one? This includes Calm Dog Hemp Oil, Calm Xtra and a free pack of homoeopathy of either No Chew (for dogs that are destructive when home alone) or No Bark (for dogs that bark or howl when home alone).