Three Tips for Easing Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

February 10, 2023

Three Tips for Easing Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? Nerves and stress are common when pet owners leave their dogs for even a short amount of time. Anxious dogs with separation anxiety may become loud and boisterous. They are not attempting to be defiant or harmful; rather, they are mostly concerned that they won't see you again.

Dogs suffer from separation anxiety in the same way that infants do. Dogs become accustomed to spending time with their owners and get nervous when they leave because they do not have the cognitive awareness to process that the separation is temporary. Although separation anxiety might be distressing for pets and pet owners, there are some helpful tips for easing your dog's separation anxiety

Give Your Dogs Tasks to Complete

Providing physical and mental stimulation is a critical component of treating many behavioral issues, particularly those involving anxiety. Exercising your dog's mind and body may significantly improve their quality of life, reduce stress, and give them suitable outlets for natural canine behaviors. Furthermore, when a physically and mentally tired dog is left alone, they may not have as much left over energy to spend on being anxious. The following activities may be helpful for easing your pet’s separation anxiety in your absence: 

  • Food puzzle toys filled with peanut butter, cheese, or yogurt. Feed these toys to your dog and watch how they get stimulated both mentally and physically with the searching, chewing, and licking. So many elements of sensory stimulation could keep them occupied both while they’re engaged in the activity and after.
  • When you leave, have your dog "hunt" for their meals by leaving little bits of their kibble about the home or yard. This is a game that most dogs enjoy! Just make sure you don’t forget where they are in case your dog doesn’t find all of them.
  • Encourage your dog walker or dog sitter to play interactive games with your pet like fetch and tug of war.

Walk Them Before Leaving

Your dog is less likely to be a tornado of activity when he or she is weary. Additionally, spending time with your pet before you leave for the day shows affection and commitment. Reinforce your love for your pet by taking them on a walk before you leave the house to give them an extra bit of attention.

Don’t Make Leaving a Big Deal

Avoid making a scene of coming and going. While there may be instances where your presence, or lack thereof, is obvious, making a show of entering or leaving the home will only upset your pet more. Keep your voice and actions quiet and calm to help ease your dog’s separation anxiety. This may help encourage them to also relax and not become agitated in your presence or absence. 

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