Summertime Sadness: Easing Separation Anxiety In Your Dog

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Dog Daycare

When your dog sees you getting ready to leave the house, do they become anxious? When you go home, do they go berserk with joy? Did they gnaw the corner off an end table, scratch the door, or damage your shoes while you were away?

Dog daycare may be the answer to your dog’s separation anxiety!

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety occurs when a dog who is overly devoted to its owner becomes extremely anxious when left alone. It’s not just a little whimpering before you go or a little trouble while you’re away. It’s a significant issue that’s one of the primary causes of dog owners’ frustration. However, there are many things you may do to assist.

Why does my dog act this way?

  • Being left alone for the first time or when they are used to being with people
  • Change of ownership
  • Moving  from a shelter to a home
  • Change in family routine or schedule
  • Loss of a family member
  • Signs of Separation Anxiety

A dog who has it shows a lot of stress when they are alone. They might:

  • Howl, bark, or whine to excess
  • Have indoor “accidents” even though they are housebroken
  • Chew things up, dig holes, scratch at windows and doors
  • Drool, pant, or salivate way more than usual
  • Pace, often in an obsessive pattern
  • Try to escape

While you’re nearby, they’re unlikely to perform any of these activities to their full extent. A typical dog might perform some of these actions every now and again, but a dog suffering from separation anxiety will do them virtually all of the time.

How can I address it?

First, consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues. Infections, hormone disorders, and other health issues might lead dogs to have accidents in the house. It might also be the result of an incomplete housebreaking. Additionally, certain medicines have the potential to induce mishaps. Whether your dog takes any medications, check with your veterinarian to see if they are to fault.

If your dog is only mildly bothered by you leaving, you could try:

  • Giving your dog a special treat each time you leave (like a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter). Only give them this treat when you’re gone, and take it away when you get home.
  • Making your comings and goings low-key without a lot of greeting. Ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home.
  • Leaving some recently worn clothes out that smell like you.
  • Consider signing your pup up for dog daycare a few times a week.

If your pup is traumatized every time you leave…

An intervention is needed for a dog with extreme anxiety to help them feel better. To keep them safe and mentally healthy, you’ll need to gradually acclimate them to your absence or arrange a more regular dog daycare schedule.

Practice exercises to desensitize them to triggers around you leaving. Put on your shoes or pick up your keys. Do those things, but then don’t leave. Do this over and over many times a day. As they become less reactive to these types of actions, increase the amount of time you’re gone from very short exits to longer durations. Only you can tell if your dog is ready to be left alone for longer periods. Don’t rush things. Gradually build up the time until you can leave the house for a few minutes. Then stay away for longer and longer periods.

A Happy Dog Is A Tired Dog

Make sure your pet gets lots of exercise every day. A tired, happy dog will be less stressed when you leave. It’s also key that you challenge your pet’s mind. Play training games and fetch. Use interactive puzzles. Work their mind as well as their body. That will keep them busy, happy, and too tired to be anxious while you’re gone. Here at Meadowlake Discovery Daycare is a great option for your pup to do all of those activities and more. Dog daycare is the perfect dog’s day out. While you’re away our award-winning pet care professionals will keep your pup entertained, exercised, and happy. Both Meadowlake Pet Resort & Training Center locations feature industry-leading daycare programs that provide a safe, fun alternative to keeping your pup alone at home all day.