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Does your dog exhibit stress or behavior problems when you leave?
Dogs having separation anxiety is a common problem. According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) there are 20% to 40% of dogs diagnosed that are referred to animal behavior practices in North America. I hear so much from dog parents regarding how their dog acts out and stresses when they leave. This is also more common in rescue dogs because of the loss and change they experience in their life.
What can trigger separation anxiety in your dog?
- Being left alone for the first time or when accustomed to human contact
- Change in ownership
- Change in residence
- Losing a person or doggie sibling
- Having gone through a traumatic event
- Changes in who resides in the household
- Changes in daily schedule
- Possible medical issues, such as incontinence
- Other behavior problems, such as juvenile destruction or bordem
- Older dogs due to cognitive dysfunction (dementia or Alzheimer symptoms), eye site issues and possible pain
What does separation anxiety look like?
- Chewing, digging or scratching at windows and doors
- Trying to escape or getting hurt trying
- Pacing obsessively
- Destructive behavior, destroying furniture, etc.
- Excessive barking, howling or whining
- Indoor potty accidents
- Panting or drooling excessively
What can we do to help calm our furry loved ones?
If you have a puppy, I highly suggest crate training them. You will make it easier on yourself and also a lot of dogs find crates comforting and safe. No matter what the age, if they have separation anxiety try a crate and see if it calms them or makes them anxious. Dog’s natural habitat is to have a den. Try a small amount at a time and put something they love in there with them or one of your shirts. Crate chart below for recommended crating times.
Something I do and suggested by the AKC is leaving them with something to keep them busy; like a bone or a chew toy with a treat inside. This teaches them that there are rewards to separation. Giving them something they love when you leave can help keep them calm. If they are in a crate, maybe put on of your old shirts in there with them for your scent.
It will also help to not make a big deal about arrivals or departures. Ignore your dog for the first few minutes (which is hard, I know) but them after a few minutes pet them calmly.
Dogs can also feel your stress. If you are a person who stresses out a lot or that has high blood pressure, you may see your dogs take that on also. So for your dog to relax… you must relax.
Dogs need exercise!!!
Exercising with your dog is a must do before you leave so they are ready to settle down. You may just fix their anxiety just by exercising them more! Because they aren’t getting enough, they are acting out. I can’t stress this enough, that is why we have a dog exercise website (<–link here)! It could help with a variety behavior problems including barking and digging. If you don’t have time to exercise them enough, dog treadmills and treadwheels are also becoming more popular! Dog treadwheels, pictured below, are nice because no electricity is needed and the dog can use it even when you aren’t home!
We use Essential oils for our dogs.
Essential oils are fabulous. I used them on my older dog by rubbing on her chest or adding to her shampoo. They also have diffusers for dog collars. Roman chamomile oil is a top one for calming dogs, it is extremely gentle and works wonders. Another with great benefits is Lemon; it can calm them and help dogs to focus and clear confusion. Lemon oil also boosts their immunity, which is good for older dogs with underlying conditions. Lavender is one I use and is great to calm and repel fleas! There are more oils available and something to look into if interested! Just make sure you don’t buy generic. Good news is you can use them on yourself as well!
CBD oil for dogs is booming.
Increasingly many Vets are recomending CBD oil and others are raving about it’s benefits also. Because it not only can help with anxiety in dogs but also for pain, seizures, chronic inflammation and digestive problems. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, this helps keep balance through out the dogs body and maintain a normal healthy state.
Tips for buying CBD oil: Look for organic so it’s free from toxins, the better the quality the higher the price so don’t go cheap, and buy as a liquid. AKC says to make sure you buy organic and not to price shop. You want the good stuff. That is why we get ours from WIHempScientific. They specialize in not only the CBD products, but the hemp extraction (verses pre-made CBD) and Cannabinoid testing. Which not a lot of hemp companies offer. You can scan the QR code of any bottle to get the test results. Here is a link for the CBD oil, and you can use code DOG10 for 10% off!
Chewy also has stress and anxiety calming bites. I have not used these but they come in bacon and peanut butter flavor, some with melatonin, and they help with calming nervous or hyperactive pets. A lot of people also give these to their dog during traveling.
Separation anxiety in dogs can be common but if you are aware, these options can help!
Dog bless~ The Dog Connection