Dealing with separation anxiety is a common problem for dog owners. How do you know if your dog suffers from his/her “separation” from you?
Typical signs are:
(1). Unwanted behavior (destruction to the house, howling, whining, “accidents”, pacing or drooling)
(2). She shows fulsome, frantic greeting behaviors
(3). The behavior occurs frequently, whether left for a few minutes or a few hours
(4). She reacts with excitement, depression, or anxiety to departure cues
Scenarios that can trigger separation anxiety
(1). A dog accustomed to constant human companionship is left alone for the
(2). A dog suffers a traumatic event such as time at a shelter or boarding
(3). There’s a change in the family’s routine (Back to School) or the loss
of a family member or pet.
How to treat minor separation anxiety
(1). Don’t make a big fuss about your coming and going. Simply: “I’ll be back”! & “I’m home”! is enough. When you come home, ignore her for a few minutes then calmly pet her
(2). Change your routine; pretend to get ready to leave (make-up, grab the
purse or briefcase,) then sit down to read the paper instead. Repeat this “change” often to desensitize her fear of your leaving
(3). Leave behind something that smells like you, such as a T-shirt
(4). Turn on the radio or TV and provide busy toys for entertainment
(5). Consider getting another dog (twice the fun!)
(6). Create a “safe place” for her if she’s destructive. (A safe
place should have sufficient room to roam, preferably with a window to see
outside and never in an isolated place nor crated all day!)
(7). Provide plenty of exercise; a daily walk not only tires her out but
also provides mental stimulation
(8). Increase her self-confidence by playing games with her and let her
(9). Create the hierarchy that YOU are Pack Leader (she may be worried
Other methods of treatment
(1). Take your dog to a CAGE-FREE day care facility
(2). Leave her with a friend, family member, or neighbor when you’re away.
(3). Take your dog to work with you, if possible.
(4). Consult with your Vet re: Nutritional supplements such L-Theanine or calming herbs such as Chamomile, Lavender, St. John’s Wort or Rescue Remedy
(5). Consider D.A.P. – Dog Appeasing Pheromone – a plug-in diffuser (you can’t smell it but she can!)
(6). Consider buying a Thundershirt. See description under Pet Products & Partners on this website
This information is garnered from a number of pet
experts, including Family Pet Center, Humane Society and countless PetMed
authors, along with personal observations from living with dog guests of Doolittle’s Doghouse.