Dogs miss their owners and their family when we are gone. We are their pack. In fact, one of the main reasons many people love dogs is for that excitement upon our return!
But that excitement about return revved up a bit too high becomes anxiety about our departure.
Sure, we too would love to spend every minute with Fido! But we go to work, school, travel, or the grocery store for heaven’s sake!
How can we prevent distress about our departure for our beloved dogs?
Read on to help calm Fido down with how to prevent separation anxiety in dogs!
What Does Separation Anxiety Look Like in Dogs?
First, we must recognize separation anxiety in dogs. Dogs cannot vocalize, “Hey, I’m stressed out about you leaving,” but they give us plenty of clues.
Separation anxiety often just looks like “bad” behavior, including:
- Destroying things in the house,
- Barking, whining, or growling,
- Having accidents in the house in an otherwise potty trained dog,
- Refusing to eat,
- Acting aggressively.
Other potential signs of separation anxiety include symptoms of physical distress, such as:
- Trembling or shaking,
- Raised hackles (the hair on the back of the dog standing up),
- Losing fur,
- Losing weight.
The biggest clue to whether or not these symptoms have to do with separation anxiety, is to observe when they occur. If your dog’s physical distress or bad behavior increases before you leave, while you are gone, or immediately upon your return, you likely have a pet with separation anxiety.
Risk Factors for Separation Anxiety
Any dog can experience separation anxiety! It does not mean you are “doing something wrong” or that you have a “bad dog.”
Any breed may experience separation anxiety.
Some breeds are more likely to get separation anxiety, especially very social pack-centered dogs. These dogs may struggle with alone time or entertaining themselves.
Dogs with abandonment trauma, such as rescue dogs, are also at greater risk of separation anxiety.
How Do You Prevent Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Is it possible to prevent separation anxiety in dogs? In many cases, yes.
Physical Comfort for Distressed Dogs
You may be able to prevent separation anxiety by providing physical comfort, such as:
- Clothes or a blanket that smell like a beloved family member.
- A place to burrow, like a pile of blankets.
- A weighted coat or weighted dog blanket to simulate being snuggled.
You also want to ensure all basic needs are met, such as plenty of water and access to shelter.
Consider Distractions for Dogs with Separation Anxiety
Modern dog cameras can let you interface with your pet throughout the day, to provide check-ins and distractions.
Toys also help prevent separation anxiety, providing stimulation to avoid destructive boredom.
Some dogs respond well to background noise, like the tv or radio on when the family leaves. However, other dogs find noises distressing and prefer quiet. In such cases, white noise or soothing music may be all they can tolerate.
Routines are Important
Many dogs have an innate sense of time. If you leave for work and come home at about the same time each day, your anxious pet will know to expect you.
If you cannot keep to your schedule consistent, using a pet care provider, neighbor check in, or even the pet cam at certain times, may help maintain a sense of rhythm to the day.
Okay, But How Do I Treat Separation Anxiety in My Pet?
If it’s too late to prevent separation anxiety in your pet, never fear! Looking for how to treat separation anxiety in dogs? What do you do if your pet already freaks out about you going anywhere?
To start, you can use any of the techniques described above to help treat your distressed dog. In particular, establishing a routine and providing a burrowing space or weighted blanket may help treat your anxious pup.
Another practice to explore is exposure therapy. Generally known as desensitization or counterconditioning, trainers successfully use these techniques to help dogs overcome fears of any kind, including anxiety.
Add CBD to Your Dog’s Treatment Plan
Combining these routines and good training with pet CBD has the greatest chance of successfully treating separation anxiety in your dog.
CBD helps restore homeostasis–a biology term for all of the parts working together as a whole. In other words, CBD can help calm an anxious dog.
Try supplementing a highly anxious dog with calming CBD oil.
As part of your training or counterconditioning routine, CBD treats can also provide a reward with the added benefit of calming CBD.
Check out our Bad Dog store to find what you need for your anxious dog.