When speaking with dog parents a common concern seems to come up- seperation anxiety. Separation anxiety can range from a mild problem, to a severe one, to a an extreme level more akin to separation panic. But don’t worry- there are ways to help alleviate this fear.
How to identify separation anxiety
A pup chewing your rug can also come from boredom, so how can you tell when you are looking at separation anxiety? According to most experts there are a few tell tale signs:
- As you are getting ready to leave does your dog start to get depressed
- When you walk out the door your dog will go into a slight panic- barking, scratching the door
- Overly joyful when you get home (to the point of hysteria)
- Read more about signs and symptoms here
At the end of the day you know your pet best, so trust your instincts here.
What to do
There are ways to alleviate separation anxiety.
- No big goodbyes- try to avoid contact with your pet before you leave, the goodbyes are more for you, and if you make it a big deal they will see it that way
- No big hello’s- same as goodbyes, when you get home ignore your dog for a few minutes, don’t immediately jump and pet them
- Get them used to it- start by leaving for 5 minutes, then 20 and then a whole day
- Leave a something of yours behind- a shirt you slept in, or anything that smells like you
- Feed them right before you leave and they will associate you leaving with something positive
- Take long walks before you leave- tired them and they can spend the time away from you contently napping
- Some people prefer to crate their pooch to give them a sense of security
What NOT to do!
- Don’t punish them for the bad behavior (chewing, urinating and defecating) they did while you were away.
- Immediately get another pet as a solutions- your pet isn’t just lonely they are missing you
Vet’s can prescribe medication to help calm your dog, however this is not a cure and will not address the root of the problem.