Separation anxiety is a problem that affects almost 15% of the dogs that live among us being a source of concern and discomfort for their families and, in many cases, can even become a reason for abandonment.
If your pet has trouble staying home alone, he is likely to suffer from separation anxiety. In this article, I will be helping you with details on how to help a dog with separation anxiety.
How can we detect separation anxiety?
We can detect separation anxiety through the following attitude in our dogs:
- Constant barking
- Scratch or bite, objects, furniture, or even walls (especially in places near the exit door of the house).
- Urinating or defecating inappropriately without a medical problem involved.
- Greetings routine that is too emotional or too submissive, etc.
When these symptoms are very high, physical damage can also occur in the dog such as trauma to the nails and pads derived from digging and scratching, injury to the trachea and tonsils from excessive barking, aphonic barking or even laryngitis, nose wounds for biting the bars of the cage and dermatitis on the legs or the flanks by excessive cleaning (licking compulsively).
Background or risk factors
Several factors predispose our dogs to the appearance of separation anxiety:
- Separate the puppy too soon from the litter (before two months of life)
- Dogs that pass through different homes or adopted dogs.
- When there are Changes in the dog housing (even with the same family).
- Traumatic experiences that he could have while he was alone.
- You are not having accustomed him gradually to remain alone at home.
Anxiety disorders based on problems such as depression, phobias, cognitive dysfunction, etc.
How to help a dog with separation anxiety?
The best, as always, is to prevent, although we will not always be able to prevent the problem from developing. We have to avoid the dog from being excessively attached to its owners and should be accustomed to being left alone from the beginning. To do this, we must follow a series of guidelines:
- Avoid saying anything to the dog when we are going out of home, even during preparations for departure (dressing, showering, and so on).
- When you return home, you should not allow effusive greetings; The dog should be ignored until it has calmed down or greeted neutrally since, in some dogs, being ignored altogether raises anxiety.
- It would be helpful to provide a place for the dog that is exclusive to him and where he feels safe; It can be a travel carrier or your sleeping mat.
- Make gradual departures from home.
The dental bones for dogs or interactive toys will stimulate physically and mentally and are excellent to prevent separation anxiety because they keep them entertained and tired. In general, these types of toys are suitable for almost any behavior problem because they stimulate their minds and release them from accumulated residual stress.
What else can we do to help?
- Create regular routines: dogs with separation anxiety feel much better when in their life, things are predictable, and in their life, there is stability. For this, you should try to have more or less fixed schedules of food, trips to the park, games, and even moments of isolation. Properly established norms balance a dog’s mind because he knows what he can and cannot do.
- Make him work and think: the right way to establish a healthy bond with our dog is to practice obedience exercises through play and always in a positive way. We should pay attention to him when we want to do it and not when he asks us to or demands it.
- Protocols to go out to the street: the dog does not have many other jobs to observe when we are with him. For this reason, it quickly detects the signs that indicate that we are going to the street. Thus, putting on a particular jacket or shoes or waking up at a specific time, having breakfast in particular, etc., can be situations that make him anticipate that we are leaving and start getting nervous and upset.
- These protocols have to be carried out in a meticulous and controlled manner. We have to make our departure not so predictable to cut the increase in anxiety. How can we do it? Making tests at different times of the day and for several days; exact drills to the real moments in which we are going to leave but without doing it finally.
The steps may look simple though, but never forget that it might take some little time for your dog to recover back from separation anxiety. I hope you have been helped by this article on how to help a dog with separation anxiety? If yes, then don’t hesitate to discover our article on the crate for separation anxiety