How To Deal With Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

dog with separation anxiety looking out the window waiting for owner to come back

How To Deal With Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

Heading back to school or back to the office? While this may be a joyous occasion for some, your dog may be feeling otherwise.

Whether you’re returning to the workplace or going back to school, leaving your dog at home alone isn’t an easy task. A change of routine can be disruptive to your pooch if they have never been left alone before. This can lead to separation anxiety and even panic, which can manifest itself into destructive behaviour, toileting in the house, whining or even barking.

Getting your pup used to this new schedule can seem daunting, but it is important that they don’t feel worried or stressed while you’re away. Keeping them occupied and stress-free and practising leaving them on their own can help ease any anxiety they may be feeling.

Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Dogs with separation anxiety can exhibit a number of different behaviours when they are left alone, from destructive chewing to howling and barking. It can be tricky to recognise these signs as you’re not there to see your dog display them, but if you find yourself coming home to destroyed furniture, toilet accidents or their refusal to leave your side, you may have a case of separation anxiety.

Common Signs:

  • Barking/Howling
  • Urinating/defecating in the house
  • Destructive chewing
  • Destructive digging
  • Trembling or pacing
dog holding slipper in his mouth in bedroom after making a mess due to separation anxiety

Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

There is no exact reason why some dogs develop separation anxiety and others don’t, but there are certain situations that can trigger it.

  • Change of Routine

A sudden change in routine, such as their owners returning to the office after working from home for a long period, can trigger separation anxiety in dogs.

  • Change of Family or Home

Moving from a shelter to a new residence or given to a new guardian can cause separation anxiety to develop.

  • Not Accustomed to Being Left Alone

With the rise of dog ownership during Covid lockdown, it’s comes as no surprise that many of these dogs are now suffering separation anxiety from their owners, as they are not used to being left alone. Going from 24/7 access to their owners to suddenly being on their own can be a stressful and frightening time for dogs.

Treating Separation Anxiety

Keeping your pooch busy and occupied while you’re away with some soothing toys and chews can help ease any anxiety they have. Make sure to leave lots of engaging toys around the house for them to play with before you head out. Our top recommendations are:

  1. M-PETS Pongo Interactive Dog Ball Toy

This new interactive ball is perfect to keep your dog entertained by engaging their natural instincts to play. This interactive toy contains tubes inside which emit sounds when rolled or shaken.

  1. HAPPY PET Grrrelli Tugger, Soft

This durable treat toy can be filled with kibble, snacks or paste that your dog can get their paws on, so they’ll be kept busy for hours on end.

  1. KONG Classic

The KONG Classic is the gold standard of dog toys and has become the staple for dogs around the world for over forty years. Offering enrichment by helping satisfy dogs instinctual needs, the KONG Classics unique natural red rubber formula is ultra-durable with an erratic bounce that is ideal for dogs that like to chew while also fulfilling a dogs need to play.

The popular Kong ball dog toy. Black puppy chewing Kong toy. Calm puppy playing at sofa.
  1. M-PETS Greenbo Natural Rubber Bone Eco Toy

This toy is the perfect gift to surprise your lucky best friend with. This toy is bound to provide countless hours of entertainment and chewing fun due to its durability.

Calming products to help ease anxiety and stress are also available, both online and in our stores. Our top recommendations are:

  1. PETLIFE Karma Wrap

The PETLIFE KarmaWrap is based on the principal of swaddling, providing gentle pressure at key points of your dog’s body which help to calm and reassure.

Other ways to tackle separation anxiety include practising leaving your dog alone. Start off for a short period, and gradually build up the periods you are away. Don’t make a fuss when you leave or when you arrive home. In fact, you should ignore him when you first come home, and then give him a few pets after a few minutes.

A crate is also very useful to help combat anxiety, as it acts a safe place for him to relax. Furnish your dog’s crate with a comfy bed and his favourite toy. It is important that crate training is done correctly as to avoid negative connotations.

Make sure your pup gets lots of exercise and physical activity every day. A tired, happy dog will be less stressed and anxious when you leave.

As always, if you are very concerned about your pet’s wellbeing, visit your local veterinarian.

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