Separation anxiety in dogs goes a little deeper than simply missing you when you are gone. In fact, it can be severe enough to be similar to a panic attack. The root cause can be anything from a shift in daily routine to previous abandonment or trauma.
If your dog paces, barks, and whines when you leave, these could be signs of separation anxiety. Some dogs will engage in destructive behavior such as chewing and digging. If your pet is having trouble when you leave, look closely at his or her behavior and follow these tips to ease the pain of separation anxiety.
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Try a Medication or Natural Alternative
When your dog is having an extreme reaction each time you leave the house, it is worth scheduling a visit to the vet. They may be able to prescribe a medication to help if the anxiety levels are high.
There are also some excellent natural remedies that you can try. CBD oil for dogs has fantastic results. It’s a proven treatment for both pain and anxiety issues. Start with a lower dose than recommended according to your dog’s weight and the product directions. You can build up to the regular dosage over time to allow your pet time to get used to it and gauge how much they need to feel the effects.
Leave Behind an Item With Your Smell
Try leaving a shirt that you have worn with your dog. The familiarity of your smell could help them to feel more comfortable in your absence. Even dirty laundry will work.
Happy reunions with your pet when you return home are gratifying for both of you. However, if you make it into a huge deal everytime you see them, even after a short separation, they will start to have heightened emotions around your comings and goings.
Stay calm and don’t put so much emphasis on your return, and you may just find that your pet relaxes and doesn’t treat it as such a big deal anymore.
Create a Safe Place
Dogs with separation anxiety need a safe and secure place to be in while you are gone. Consider confining them to one room and creating a comfortable place with a bed, blanket, and some toys. Make it their haven that they can retreat to when they need to feel better.
Build Time Away Gradually
Dogs, like people, can get stressed when their routine changes. If they have never been left alone and now you’re suddenly gone for eight hours for work, they are going to have a reaction.
Start to spend some time apart from your pet so they get used to the idea and don’t have negative associations with the separation. Leave the hours entirely for a few hours once in a while. You should also be in different rooms for at least part of the day. Get your dog used to not being directly at your side at all times.
Leave Your Dog with a Friend or Doggy Daycare
Some dogs may have been through something difficult in the past that makes being apart from you particularly painful. In extreme cases, your pet may still be highly agitated no matter what you try to do to make them feel more content and safe.
If this happens, then you may want to make alternative arrangements for your dog when you have to go to work or leave for a long time period. You can ask a friend or relative if you can drop them off during the day, or find a doggy daycare where they will be surrounded by other pets and humans to ward off loneliness and anxiety.
It’s very important to understand that some cases of separation anxiety are mild and can be easily remedied, while others are extreme and can take time and additional help to work through with your dog. Always pay attention to how your pet behaves and take your cues from them so you can help them to feel better without adding additional stress.