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4 Tips for Helping Your Dog With Separation Anxiety

If your dog has separation anxiety, it might feel difficult to leave them. Some symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include chewing household items, barking or whining when you’re about to leave, or pacing. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, try some of the following steps, or talk to your veterinarian  at Animal Medical Center if your dog’s anxiety is more severe.

How to Help Your Dog Deal With Separation Anxiety

1. Don’t Make Leaving a Big Deal

When you make a big show of saying goodbye to your dog, it can make anxiety worse. If you need to have a moment of affection with your pup, do it at least an hour before leaving. Just remember, your dog won’t have hurt feelings if you don’t do this.

If your dog’s anxiety is more severe, you might have to institute some quiet time before leaving the house. Ignore your dog for at least five minutes before leaving the house or up to an hour, if necessary. Don’t make eye contact, talk to them, or touch them. This will keep them from getting riled up about your departure.

2. Go for a Walk in the Morning

If you want to alleviate their separation anxiety, take a brisk walk before leaving for work. This will help tire them out and make it easier for them to rest while you’re away. If this doesn’t work, consider having them carry a backpack to make the walk more strenuous. If they still have lots of energy, talk to Dr. Heilmeier, Dr. Kasey and/or Dr. Meghan about ways you can keep them calm.

3. Start by Leaving Your Dog Alone for a Short Time

Many dogs initially have trouble when their owners leave for eight-hour shifts. Start by leaving your dog alone for shorter amounts of time—such as five minutes—then return. Extend this period slowly until you can be out of the house for a whole workday. 

4. Give Them a Treat or Toy

Pick a treat or toy that your dog only gets while you’re away. A useful option is a food puzzle that your dog must solve to get their treats. These puzzles are available in varying degrees of difficulty to occupy pets longer, so they don’t focus on you being away. When you come home, take the toy away, so it’s new to them when you must leave the house again. Ask your veterinarian at Animal Medical Center what treats, toys, or food puzzles they recommend for an anxious dog.

The veterinarians and staff at Animal Medical Center can keep your dog healthy and help you deal with behavioral problems. We’re located in Foley, AL, near the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. If your dog struggles with staying alone all day, we offer doggy daycare at an affordable price so your best friend can enjoy the company of people and other dogs while you’re away. Call (251) 955-5900 to set up an appointment.