When I first got my dog (Bella) I was living with my Mom and my cousin, who also had a dog. So more than likely whenever I was running errands or at work there was also someone home, and if not my dog had my cousins dog as a companion.
Fast forward to moving out of my Moms place and into my own, Bella had an extremely hard time adjusting to being alone when I was out. At first I thought that she just needed time to get used to the new space and learn that I would always come home to her, just as before. But it continued to get worse and she started to tear up the carpet trying to get into our storage closet that was under the staircase (to outside) to try to find me.
She was working herself up so much which lead to her destroying the carpet, and many many things in the storage closet. We were at our wits end when it came to the damage and also very concerned for our poor fur baby- she was severely stressed out, so naturally we phoned our vet. Medicating her was out of the question- so we tried everything we could until we found what worked.
I’m sure many other fur parents have gone through this, and for those of you who are currently experiencing this issue this post is for you. Here are 5 tips for dealing with your dog when they’re experiencing separation anxiety.
give them something to chew on/distract them
This can be very helpful if you find that your dog is chewing up whatever they can reach when you leave the house. Even though your dog chewing on anything in sight leaving a mess for you to come home to can be annoying- they’re ultimately just trying to relieve some of that anxiety they’re feeling. Chewing can combat boredom and relieve mild frustration and anxiety in your dog!
Take them to the pet store and let them pick out a few toys, then when you’re about to leave the house make sure you pick up anything off the floor that they could get into and replace it with a toy that they are allowed to chew on.
leave something that smells like you
A big factor in a lot of dogs anxiety is fear. Fear that you are never coming home and you’ve just abandoned them forever. Sometimes they just need a reminder that even though you aren’t around, your scent is and you’ll always come home.
In our house, fuzzy throw blankets are plentiful and I am always curled up in one. So whenever I leave I make sure that I put blankets that smell like me in all my dogs favourite places to lay. You could do this with just about anything: scarves, sweaters, shirts, etc.
gate them in a room
Unless crate trained from the get-go (as a puppy) trying to crate train an anxious dog not only seems impossible but can also create a risk to the dog. Dogs with anxiety who aren’t previously crate trained can harm themselves while trying to escape the crate.
Try gating them in a room instead, that way they aren’t roaming the house and getting into things and you can make sure that the room is suitable for them before you leave the house. Put their food, water, bed, toys, something that smells like you, and maybe even a couple treats in the room- do everything you can to make your dog feel comfortable.
try calming treats
My Dad & Step-Mum also have a very anxious dog, and they found that these all natural dog treats really helped to calm down their guy when they leave the house. They’re great because they aren’t a sedative and it helps your pets everyday anxiety as well as their situational anxiety.
As always please do your research and/or speak to your vet before giving anything new to your pet just to be safe!
get them a companion
Last but not least, the suggestion that helped to calm down my dogs anxiety- a companion!
We were in a position where we could afford to take in another animal, but not in a position at the time to get another dog. So we got Bella a kitten (and named him Bean) and prayed that she wouldn’t mind that it wasn’t one of her kind, that she would just be glad she was no longer alone when I wasn’t there.
The first couple of days was really touch and go, mainly because all Bella wanted to do was play with Bean but he wasn’t really sure about her yet. We introduced them slowly, and now they’re inseparable!
I hope this post was able to help you navigate your dogs separation anxiety. If you have any tips or tricks for dealing with separation anxiety in pets or want to share your story relating to the topic, comment below!
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