A lot of pet owners are thinking about what are the causes of dog separation anxiety in their pets. Are you one of those pet owners who have noticed your dog chewing on your shoes and shivering every time you are away at home? Read this article to know about it.
How will you determine if your dog is suffering from dog separation anxiety? What are the things you could do to cure dog anxiety? Don’t worry, pal. We are here to talk about the things you must know about this condition, their symptoms, causes, and possible treatments. Apart from that, this guide aims to offer you helpful tips for the prevention of this anxiety. If you want to know how to break a dog’s separation anxiety, click here!
Similar to humans, our precious furry friends suffer from anxiety. While it is not pleasant, it is an ordinary and healthy feeling. In fact, anxiety could impact every breed of dog. However, it might impact every dog differently. A dog could develop an anxiety disorder even though it’s something every dog suffers now and then if improper stages of anxiety are left unchecked. Dog separation anxiety could result in different issues, and one of them is behavioral.
What is Dog Separation Anxiety?
Dog separation anxiety is an unpleasant behavior. Most typical behaviors are howling, barking, toileting, or destruction. You will find several reasons for your four-legged friend to show such behaviors when you leave them alone. Nonetheless, the most typical is where they have never understood that being alone is okay, and it’s a normal part of their life.
What are the Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety?
Some dogs are more susceptible to this kind of anxiety. You will find several anecdotal proofs to prove it is more typical in shelter dogs. These dogs might have experienced a loss, or their owners abandoned them in the past.
Several breeds might also be more susceptible to it, particularly the people-oriented breeds. Furthermore, life changes could also trigger this anxiety for dogs. This includes an abrupt adjustment in the schedule, relocating to a new home, or unexpected absence of a loved one.
A dog suffering from this anxiety is in a condition of panic on being abandoned or left alone. This type of anxiety in dogs is a term, which could only be diagnosed by a veterinary behaviorist. It means a dog has established a hyper-attachment to a person. The dog goes into a panic mode when that individual is not there.
Take note that not every dog that is suffering from anxiety shows signs which could lead to injury. It’s your role to try to comfort them when a dog barks, whines, or paces.
What are the Common Signs of Dog Separation Anxiety?
The following is a list of the signs and symptoms, which might indicate dog separation anxiety:
You will find that some dogs excrete and consume some or all of their dirt, especially when separated or left alone from their owners. Do you notice a dog eating dirt when its guardian is not around? You will know that this behavior won’t happen when their guardian is there.
Several dogs trot or walk along a particular path in a stationary arrangement when they are detached or left alone from their owners. Other pacing dogs move everywhere in round forms. Some roam from side to side in straight lines. Separation anxiety does not happen when their owner is present.
A dog suffering from separation anxiety might try to evade from a place where it is restricted whenever it is separated or left alone from its owners.
Destruction, Digging and Chewing
Several dogs suffering from this anxiety chew on things, dig at doors, and windowsills. Sometimes, they ruin things inside your household. Such actions could lead to damaged nails, scraped paws, or broken teeth.
Anxious dogs might chew on furniture, as chewing is a soothing feeling for them. They often pick items that belong to their masters, as those items carry their scent. Chewing, it makes these dogs feel a bit better. Furthermore, they might chew or dig at the walls, around windows or doors in an attempt to evade the house and search for you.
Howling and Barking
A dog suffering from separation anxiety is prone to howling or barking every time they are detached from their owners. This type of behavior is continuous, and it does not appear to be triggered except after being left alone. We suggest you offer your dog a good treat every time you leave. It will provide your dog with a delicious alternative to howling or barking. You will find many dog separation anxiety toys available on the market today.
Defecating and Urinating
You will find some dogs that defecate or urinate when they are separated from their owners. You must not punish your furry friend when he has done this. Take note that he soiled your carpet only because he was stressed and not being disobedient. Any remedial procedures will puzzle the dog, and it will lead to more fretfulness.
Distress when you are Leaving
The majority of dogs that have separation anxiety display obvious symptoms of anxiety when their owners get ready to leave. It might include barking, whining, pacing, or panting. Often, they might show violent behavior. This type of action starts when the owner begins to go out like picking up the keys or putting on shoes.
Others Lookalike Signs of Separation Anxiety You Must Not Overlook
Often, dog owners think that their dog is experiencing separation anxiety without assessing the symptoms and signs. You will find some of the lookalikes you must not overlook:
Your furry friend suddenly begins soiling your home while you are away. That could be a medical problem such as UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). Therefore, make sure you consider having them checked by a vet before deciding the sign as a symptom of separation anxiety.
Did you know that improper dog training could mimic a dog separation anxiety? Perhaps you are noticing your neighbors who keep complaining that your pup barks too much while you are away. That could be an indication of stress, which is triggered by separation anxiety or isolation distress.
On the other hand, your dog might also be responding only to the sounds he hears outside your home. You could fix it with proper management and training.
Isolation anxiety shows itself in different ways. You could try recording your dog while you are away to know more about their behavior. You might also like to utilize a remote camera system in this case. Your pup isn’t having trouble with dog separation anxiety if it sleeps most of the time while you are away.
Common Dog Breeds with Separation Anxiety
Picking less nervous pups breeds and those that have the least likely to have the anxiety will help you make your pup more comfortable when he is alone. It also guarantees your furry friend does not experience destructive behavior, drooling, pacing, barking, and other signs of dog separation anxiety at night. Below is a shortlist of dogs with separation anxiety breeds.
This kind of poodle has a delicate temperament as they are bred as a companion dog. Therefore, they require love and time from their owners. They could experience trivial separation distress when left alone.
German Shorthaired Pointer
Another dog with separation anxiety issues is the German Shorthaired Pointer. Bred to hunt along with humans, they could become bored easily and stressed by getting their paws dirty. They’re bred to be around people and keep active.
Bichon Frise is a companion dog. They do their best every time they are around their family. They could become bored when left alone and could experience too much anxiety because of loneliness.
The job of an Australian Shepherd is to herd. They are active and do their very best at work. They must remain active and might experience anxiety if there is nothing to do.
These dogs are considered working dogs. They are active when they are in a mentally and physically stimulating environment. They could be distressed when they are bored and left alone.
Jack Russel Terrier
This breed could go awry easily when there is no human around to help them out and keep them engaged. Not to mention that they could hurt small dogs.
The Labrador Retriever
It is a companion fog. They are more susceptible to behavioral challenges and separation anxiety. This breed of dogs is extremely social. Therefore, they could have a difficult time when left alone for a long time.
The Importance of Dog Separation Anxiety Training
Bear in mind that most dog separation anxiety medication has to do with discipline and obedience training. This method allows your dog to understand the things anticipated of it, guiding its positive actions to convert into a habit. Your dog might feel wrong displaying a poor behavior even without you showing it. You must make the most of that.
Why don’t you start spending dog separation anxiety training often and continuously? Display your dog the things you like from him within and everywhere the house, as well as during regular habits. Go for a walk and train it to sit at curbsides.
Educate your dog to stay at the entrance, doze, and stay there while you go out of view. Ensure you train your furry friend to sit and wait to be welcomed by visitors. You can then move aside every time you go to the bathroom and go to the fridge on cue. In short, teach your dog a few steps to be obedient and to establish the confidence it needs. Rehabilitation starts by allowing your dog to understand the things expected of it.
Using a Crate When You Are Away
Can you use a crate when you are away? Yes. Most dogs feel more secure and calmer when they are left inside a crate. They should be introduced to it gradually along with positive approaches. The crate could be a safe sanctuary for them. However, some dogs attempt to evade from their crate when they are alone. It could become risky, especially if they catch their teeth or paws on metal parts.
Using a smaller comfortable area like a laundry room, kitchen, or maybe a room with a baby gate is a good option for most dogs. Identifying the kind of setting that is suited for your dog needs observation, patience, and time on your part. Work with a trainer who could help you detect the body language of your dog.
Teach your dog to be familiar with the crate when you are home. Feed your dog inside the crate as well. You can let your dog have its all-time favorite bone as an anxiety reliever while it is inside.
Buy toys that are designed to occupy and entertain your dog, especially if you are away from them. Try to utilize those interactive toys when you are with them. These are effective, as the mind of your dog is stimulated while trying to get rid of treats from a toy. The outcome? Your dog soothes its mind and later on falls asleep.
Avoid pouring water in the crate. When unattended, it might look very disordered. Remember that the crate must be the safe sanctuary of your dog. It’s a place where it feels safe and enjoys. Choose a crate that’s large enough for your dog to stand straight without its head reaching the top. Pick a crate where your dog can turn around and lay down without too much hassle.
Here are three crates you can use to ease the dog separation anxiety of your pup.
JESPET Soft Dog Crates Kennel
This dog separation anxiety crate is accessible in different sizes and colors. What you will love about this crate is its three-door design. You will find a door on the side, at the top, and on the front, allowing fast and simple access to your dog. It is also portable, making it simple to store. Further, it comes with an added pocket and modifiable carrying strap.
Amazon-Basics Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel
This dog separation anxiety crate is ideal for those dogs who are suffering from isolation anxiety. It’s robust, enables hassle-free access and fairly priced. The plastic material is strong, and it provides reliable protection every time you use it outdoors or in your vehicle.
It comes with four screws and latches for easy securing of the bottom and top part together. You could constrict the screws based on how tight and safe you like this crate to be.
Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog Crate
You must consider this dog separation anxiety crate, especially if your pup is strong enough to destroy fabrics in your room with his bare teeth. The construction of this crate is strong enough, featuring 0.5 inches of steel tubes. The edges of the crate have a rounded design to prevent any accidental cuts. Not to mention that the front door features strong and tough latches.
The grated floor has a removable tray, making the entire cleaning process a breeze. You could also transfer it without hassle. It has a removable caster, making it simple to relocate.
Using Toys to Ease the Anxiety of My Dog
Lowering the separation anxiety of your dog and their state of unrest could be as simple as updating your toy chest. Studies prove that exercising your dog is one of the ideal ways to lower anxiety. The less stressed your dog will be if they have less nervous energy. Toys, which establish a need to concentrate, or toys with soothing powers are excellent tools for your dogs.
Below are some of the best dog separation anxiety toys you can buy for your pet today.
This toy will certainly keep your dog or pup busy throughout the day. This food-dispensing toy tries to offer dog treats for anxious dogs.
This Wi-Fi-connected camera will allow you to get in touch with your dog while you outside your home. Apart from that, it will also enable you to talk to your furry friend and play some fun laser games no matter where you are. The only thing you need is a stable internet connection. Often, your voice is the only thing your dog needs throughout the day.
Is There a Difference Between Normal Canine Behavior and Dog Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a common illness among dogs. It is not similar to boredom. Dog separation anxiety is the outcome of stress and not similar to small trouble when your dog is left alone.
You must be certain it is not the case of insufficient training before you label potty accidents and ruined cushions as separation anxiety. Understand whether your dog truly knows good behaviors, even if you are not watching them. One of the perfect methods to understand what is going on while you are away is to record your dog’s behavior while you are outside your home.
How Long Will It Take Dog to Overcome Separation Anxiety?
Bear in mind that dog separation anxiety training is not similar to the majority of other types of dog training. The reason behind this is that it needs treatment for an emotional response instead of simply teaching new tricks and behavior.
There is no other way to know the timeline for an eventual “cure,” much like a human visiting a therapist for help with a phobia or fear. Every dog is unique and different in its way. Thus, development could take place within a few weeks or months.
Dog separation anxiety is one of those treatable conditions; however, the rate of improvement could be slow, especially in the preliminary stages. The good thing is that you can see improvements after you have made it through initial gains. You could influence the degree of development by committing time to the entire procedure.
What Help Can You Do to Overcome the Separation Anxiety of Your Dog?
You will find different dog separation anxiety solutions that help with curing dog separation anxiety quickly. The key with all of them is patience and consistency. Take note that you cannot cure separation anxiety overnight. You need to take necessary steps such as exercising your routine before leaving the house and presenting a special treat or toy.