Separation anxiety in dogs and how to help them.

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I hear so much from dog parents regarding how their dog acts with such anxiety when they leave. This is more common in rescue dogs because of the loss and change they experience in their life. Schedule changes can also trigger the development of separation anxiety.

What else can trigger separation anxiety in your dog?

  • Being left alone for the first time
  • Change in ownership
  • Change in residence
  • Losing a person or doggie sibling
  • 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

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
  • 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 their with them. 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.

Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! This is great to do before you leave so they are ready to settle down. You may just fix their anxiety 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 an exercise website! It could help with a variety behavior problems including barking. If you don’t have time to exercise them enough, dog treadmills and treadwheels are also becoming more popular!

Essential oils also could work and are fabulous. I use them on my older dog by rubbing on her chest or adding to her shampoo. They also have diffusers for their collars. Roman chamomile oil is a top one for calming dogs, it is extremely gentle and works wonders. Lemon is another one with great benefits. 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 another 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!

People have also recommended hemp oil for anxiety. Although I have read good reviews, I have not tried it.

I hope this helps and as always talk to your vet if problems persist!

Dog bless~

The Dog Connection

Resources: AKC.com

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