Do you come home to your furniture destroyed or a mess all over the floor from your dog? Don’t get angry, because this could be a sign that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. This is the primary reason behind dog’s destructive behaviors that many pet owners mistake as behavioral problems. Treating your pup’s separation anxiety is very important if you want to come home to a happy and calm dog.
Furthermore, when treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to fix the underlying issue. Teach them alone time is enjoyable and calming. We will provide you with all of the basics. From why dogs develop separation anxiety and the common symptoms to how you can treat and prevent your dog’s anxiety.
Why Do Dogs Develop Separation Anxiety?
There are many reasons dogs develop separation anxiety. Adopted shelter dogs are more likely to develop this behavior than dogs raised by a single family since puppyhood. Reasons for this could be a loss of an important person or a change in their lifestyle. The following lists various reasons for separation anxiety in dogs.
Change of Family or Owner
Many dogs are abandoned, put in to shelters, or given new owners and family. This could trigger separation anxiety because they have had experiences with losing important people in their life. When you leave the house, your dog may think you are never returning like their last owner. They could become frightened with that reminder and become destructive to deal with their stress.
Change in Schedule
Secondly, a quick and drastic change in how long they are left alone could trigger the development of separation anxiety. For instance, if you are home with the dog all day every day but then suddenly have other commitments that require you not to be, that change might cause the dog to develop anxiety.
Moving to a New Place
Having new surroundings by moving could cause separation anxiety. The dog may be unsure of where they are and become scared. This leads to them being anxious every time you leave their side. New houses could also increase their destructive behavior because they are not yet used to that as being their safe place.
Change in Household Family
Lastly, whether someone moves away or a possible death, losing an important family member to dogs can trigger those anxious feelings. A sudden absence can cause them to feel abandoned by that person. They become scared that the existing members in the house will abandon them as well.
Urinating and Defecating
When dogs are left alone or separated from their owners, some urinate or defecate in the house. Owners may be confused between dogs not being potty trained and dogs who suffer from separation anxiety. If your dog urinates or defecates while you are in the home and present with them, they most likely have potty training issues.
Barking and Howling
Dogs will sometimes bark or howl if they are left alone. It is often persistent and seems to be only triggered by separation anxiety. This could be annoying to neighbors if they can hear them or cause noise complaint problems.
Dogs who have separation anxiety often chew on things like furniture, door frames, or window sills. They may also dig and destroy your house or destroy objects. This could result in self-injury, such as busted up paws, broken teeth, and damaged nails. This destructive behavior caused by separation anxiety doesn’t usually happen when their owner is present.
Some dogs who are experiencing separation anxiety will walk in a specific path often in a pattern. This could be circular patterns, or walking back and forth in straight lines. This symptom is often hard to recognize because pet owners are not around to see it. If you think your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, try having someone watch them while you are not home to observe their possible passive behavior.
Separation anxiety may cause dogs to try to escape from their confined area when left alone or separated from their owner. This could lead to destructive behavior like digging or chewing to get out. This could also lead to self-injury.
Our Top Products for Separation Anxiety
1. Comfort Zone Calming Vest for Dogs
Separation Anxiety can cause your dog a lot of stress. The only thing pet owners want is make them feel comfortable and safe. The Comfort Zone Calming Vest is designed to provide your pup with swaddling-like pressure to help them feel calmer. The gentle cradle pressure is shown to effectively reduce stress. This vest has a soft, flexible, and breathable fabric for the best comfort of your dog. It also has a reflective lining to ensure your dog’s safety at nighttime or in the dark.
- Veterinarian recommended
- Proven to effectively reduce stress
- Used for separation anxiety, fear of thunder, fireworks, etc.
- Full chest fit for maximum coverage
- Gentle swaddling-like feeling for stressful situations
2. Nutrition Strength Dog Anxiety Relief Supplement
Nutrition Strength Dog Anxiety Relief Supplement is an organic formula to help reduce your dog’s stress. These calming treats will calm your pup and reduce behavioral issues such as barking, hyper activity, aggressive behavior, and separation anxiety. Only natural ingredients are added, which include soothing herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other organic blends. Giving your pup these treats will promote balanced behavior without changing their energy level or personality.
- Organic support with high quality FDA approved ingredients
- Includes chamomile, passionflower, and valerian
- Suitable for all dogs of all ages and sizes
- Keeps your pup healthy and happy
- Made in the USA using 100% green, carbon-neutral technology
3. Smart Pet Snuggle Puppy Aid Toy
This cute snuggle pet is made to help comfort your dog with physical warmth and a “real-feel” heartbeat. It reduces loneliness, fear, and separation anxiety. Your pet will be calmed through natural instincts rather than medication. The stuffed animal has a pocket pouch to insert the heat pack, which lasts up to 2 weeks with continuous usage. The Snuggle Puppy imitates maternal intimacy to relieve anxiety and stress.
- Reduces negative behaviors from anxiety
- Disposable heat source that lasts 24 hours
- Non-toxic and safe for people and pets
- Machine washable
- “Real-feel” pulsing heartbeat for calming effect
4. Agon CozyFur Anti-Anxiety Vest
The CozyFur Anti-Anxiety Vest calms your pup using 3 senses, touch, smell and hearing. The pressure of the wrap reduces stress by a swaddling feeling. It also provides 2 lavender essential oil crystals for a calming atmosphere. CozyFur has a unique feature with a speaker that plays calming and soothing sounds that will repeat for a relaxing mood. The vest is adjustable, comfortable, and calming. It is a drug free solution to your dog’s anxiety without any training. Your dog can wear this vest at the park, on the street, in your home, or anywhere you go.
- Helps dogs feel more secure and comfortable
- Easy to put on and take off
- Adjustable for the right pressure
- Uses 3 senses – touch, smell, and hearing
- Backed by science to effectively calm dogs
5. Zesty Paws Calming Bites
Zesty Paws Calming Bites are a chewable supplement that will reduce your dog’s anxiety from stressful situations. It includes a blend of beneficial ingredients to keep your pet healthy and happy. Some of these ingredients include Organic Ginger Root, Organic Passion Flower, and Valerian Root. This supplement calms hyperactivity behavior, reduces aggression, and relieves fear and anxiety. It also won’t cause drowsiness or change in personality.
- All-natural formula
- Turkey flavored
- Promotes relaxation with no drowsy effect
- Encourages natural comfort
Ways to Prevent Separation Anxiety
- Don’t react immediately– Many dogs who act out are seeking attention. Sometimes these behaviors can be corrected by ignoring them or not reacting right away. Give them some time to calm themselves down or realize you are not going to baby them every time.
- Hide Departure Cues– Make sure not to react differently when leaving your dog alone. This won’t let your dog associate your behavior with departure.
- Crate Training– Crates are an important training tool. Some dogs will actually feel safer and more comfortable in their crate when left alone.
- Exercise– There is both physical and mental exercises your dog can do that will help to lower their stress levels. This is especially true for very active, high energy dogs. A tired pup is more likely to stay calm when you leave. Mental exercises like games that build self-control, focus, and patience are key to reducing separation anxiety.
- Teach Your Dog to Be Alone– Make some time in the day for you pup to be alone, whether in his crate or in a dog proofed area. This is more beneficial to do while they are still puppies to prevent separation anxiety in the later on in their life.