We teamed up with VCA veterinary hospitals to bring you tips on managing separation anxiety in your dog. If you’re gearing up to spend more time outside the house or you’ve noticed your dog getting anxious while you’re away, these expert tips will help you alleviate separation anxiety.
What is separation anxiety?
Separation stress, also called separation anxiety, is a term applied to a variety of behaviors that can occur when a dog is left alone. The severity of separation stress and behaviors associated with this issue vary among dogs. But common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include clinginess, pacing, panting, vocalization (whining, barking or howling), inability to settle, hovering near doors, and house-soiling (accidents). In severe cases, dogs may become destructive, hurt themselves or attempt to escape.
Tips to manage separation anxiety
- Practice separation: Help your dog get used to being alone and know you’re always coming home by leaving for short periods at a time
- Provide distractions: Ease loneliness and boredom by leaving the radio or TV on or giving them a toy with slow-release treats
- Let them settle: When returning home, say hello, but wait until your pup settles down before engaging with a game, going out, or offering extra attention.
- Exercise first: Before you head out for the day, take your dog out for some exercise – a tired dog is less likely to experience stress and time together can help you feel better about leaving them alone
- Get outside help: Give your dog a day of exercise and socialization at a dog day care like Camp Bow Wow or find a neighbor or dog walker to check in on your dog during the day. Additionally, be sure to talk with your veterinarian (or a VCA veterinarian) about your dog’s separation anxiety and any other health or behavioral concerns.
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