Separation anxiety in dogs is a common problem and we sure know how it can break your heart to watch those sad, big eyes asking you not to leave them… When you add to it chewed furniture, constant barking or shaking then things can get really difficult. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make your pet’s life better, even when they suffer from dog anxiety. Dr Michele King, a professional veterinarian and a parent of 4 dogs, shared some tips with us on this and here is our short summary.
Notice the ‘signs’
Before you start, it is always good to identify the symptoms and confirm that the ‘signs’ that your dog is giving you are related to separation anxiety specifically. Perhaps they can be a sign of other type of anxiety or maybe something completely else. Some dogs are mildly affected and some dogs are really severely affected, so bear in mind that every dog should be handled slightly different. If in doubt always consult a veterinarian.
Most common signs of separation anxiety are when your dog starts getting really nervous when you’re leaving (or when you are away) and does some of the following:
Drooling all over the place
Peeing or pooping where they’re not supposed to
Digging at walls, floorboards,
Possibly even biting
How to help your dog?
So what exactly can you do make your friend less anxious? Here are some examples of what you can do to help your pet if it’s lightly to mildly affected by separation anxiety.
- Exercise - make sure that your furry friend has enough runs, walks & play during the day, especially before you leave them. Your dog might get anxious because she/he is mentally or physically bored.
- Distraction - for some dogs a smart distraction might work wonders. Try to give them their favorite toy, something that they love but get only on special occasions or something that is very engaging, e.g. put some soft dog food inside a Kong toy. This will help them to forget about you during the critical 5-10 mins when you leave.
- Calming treats for dogs - over the counter anxiety medication or treats like soft chews that are calming anxiety and help to relieve stress. They often contain Melatonin, Hemp Oil, Thiamine & Chamomile [like our MAX CALMING TREATS] and can help to calm your dog down if the anxiety is really making his/her (and your life) difficult! Remember though to check with your vet what’s best to use if your dog has any health conditions.
Sometimes you may need to use 2 or 3 of the above to see results. You know your furry friend best, so you know what will work best. Think about using different things from different angles for best results.
For dogs that are severely affected evaluation & possible dog training by a professional trainer or even prescription dog anxiety medication might be required. In those cases, always talk to your vet before you start any treatment.
If you want to listen to the full video, where Dr King explains the above points in more detail, have a look in our Healthy Dog Family Facebook group.
[Photo by James Barker]