There is such a thing as separation anxiety in dogs, and so pet owners have every reason to be concerned whenever the time comes that they have to leave the house for work or other important activities. Your little pooch could be suffering from separation anxiety if he exhibits any of the following traits:
- He paces around nervously.
- He salivates excessively.
- He drinks a lot more water than usual.
- He keeps scratching at the furniture.
- He habitually chews on your shoes and clothes.
- He ignores any food being served to him.
- He seems to pee and poop wherever he pleases
Remedies to Help Your Dog with Separation Anxiety
Like any sensible pet parent, you should take charge of the situation as your dog is not capable of dealing with anxiety on his own. The good news is that some of the anxiety remedies for dogs do not require the express approval of his veterinarian or any other licensed animal health professional.
Here are some of the proven ways by which you can help your dog overcome his separation anxiety.
- Get your dog used to your regular absences by spending time apart from him while both of you are at home. For example, you can leave him on his own in the living room while you are busy in the kitchen or in your study. Return to the room where your dog is after 30 minutes without greeting him excitedly. (Otherwise, if you reciprocate his excitement upon seeing you again, you will only be reinforcing the idea in his mind that you were indeed physically separated from him.). Repeat this process as often as you can every day until you are confident enough that you can leave the house and come back several hours later to a calm dog (and with all your belongings still in one piece).
- If your dog gets anxious and starts to cry out for you before the 30 minutes are up, consider giving him shorter “alone times” for the first few days that you try this approach with him. It is only when he becomes comfortable with a certain duration of being alone that you should start experimenting with slightly longer duration over the succeeding weeks. This is one of the most challenging DIY anxiety remedies because some dogs will take longer than others to get used to being left alone for hours on end.
- If you have enough time to do so before leaving the house, take your dog out for a 30-minute walk. He will end up hungry and tired that all he would want to do when the two of you get home is to just lie down, eat, and sleep. If the weather presents a problem, you can still help your dog get enough exercise indoors. For example, you can play a game of fetch with him in the living room.
- Give your dog a snack or a toy he could chew on to keep him preoccupied whenever you leave the house. There is a wide assortment of calming treats for dogs available in local pet stores. It is practical to resort to this option so that you don’t have to give him a filthy old tennis ball to play with or t leave your shoes and clothes at his mercy every time you go away.
If all else fails, perhaps nothing less than professional help will work for your dog. Find out if there are any licensed animal behavior specialists in your area who have years of experience helping dogs overcome their anxiety. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with anxiety (just as how it is for humans), ask your veterinarian for help can in coming up with effective regimen and possibly anti- anxiety medications for dogs prescribed by a licensed professional.