Separation Anxiety and Dogs
Many of us have been working from home and going to school online for months because of the coronavirus. Not only have we had to adjust to new routines, but our pets have too. They’ve been getting used to us being around more often and spending more time with them. However, life will go back to normal eventually, leaving your pet confused. This is especially true if you’ve decided to adopt a dog during the pandemic and you being at home is all they know. Your pets may wonder: “Where did my owner go?” This shift in perspective could cause separation anxiety for your dog.
Learn more about the signs of separation anxiety in dogs and how you can help your dog cope.
Most common symptoms associated with pet separation anxiety:
- Accidents around the house. If your dog starts to relieve themselves around your home when you’re not around, this could be a sign of separation anxiety.
- Excessive barking or howling. If your neighbors start to complain about your dog endlessly barking or howling when you leave the house, their behavior could be triggered by separation anxiety.
- Destructive behavior. If your dog starts to chew on furniture, door frames, windowsills, or other household items that aren’t dog toys, this aggression could be their way of expressing separation anxiety. Digging is another behavior that could hint at your dog’s anxiousness.
- Attempts to escape. If you notice your dog has left signs that they’re trying to get out of a window or door in your home when you’re not around — think chewed door frames or clawed at window sills — this could be a sign that they’re experiencing anxiety.
If you notice that your dog is starting to exhibit these behaviors, it’s time to think about getting them the help they need to cope. These are some of the most effective tools and strategies pet owners use to help with separation anxiety.
- Hire a dog walker. Dogs love interacting with people. If your work or school hours demand that you be away from home for long periods of time, hiring a professional to take your dog for a walk can break up the day and help them feel less alone. You can use apps like Wag!, Rover, and PetBacker to find local dog walkers or entrust a friend or family member to take on the job.
- Interactive dog toys. If you can’t afford to hire a professional to walk your dog every day, invest in something like an interactive dog toy. From puzzles that store treats to dog ball launchers, there are many interactive dog toys available at varying price points. Set your dog up with any of these options to keep them entertained during the day.
- Watch our video on how to use a Kong and best healthy stuffers to use in your Kong.
- Buy a pet camera. Like interactive doorbells, pet cameras have become increasingly popular. If you want to be able to check in on your dog throughout the day, a pet camera is your best bet. Through an app, you’ll be able to see and speak to your dog, helping to lessen the anxiety they might be feeling.
- Start the transition slowly. Instead of going back to work one day and not returning for over 8 hours, ease your dog into your absence. In the days leading up to your return to the office, leave your home for an hour. The next day you can try for two hours and so on. Let your dog slowly get used to you not being home all hours of the day.
- Provide your dog with a Reiki treatment. Like humans, dogs can benefit from Reiki! If your dog has severe separation anxiety, have an energy healer cleanse their auras.
Use these separation anxiety tips to prepare your dog to cope with your inevitable return to work or school. You and your dog will feel better when you both are reassured that they know you will return at the end of the day. Contact the specialist as Wagging Right for help.