Helping Your Dog When You Are Out

Helping Your Dog When You Are Out

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety when you leave them? Separation anxiety is a behavioural disorder in dogs that have trouble dealing with the absence of their owners. It’s common in dogs who have had more than one home in their lives or when they are puppies. There are many ways to tell if your pet may be experiencing separation anxiety. A few common symptoms may include coming home to destroyed objects, attempts to escape, defecating either in your home or in their crate, excessive barking, crying, or coming home to wounds that they may have given themselves from biting. Check out our tips on helping your dog when you are out.

How can I tell if my dog is anxious?

One helpful way to determine if you have an anxious pup is by filming them when your dog is home alone. This method will help you discover your dog’s home-alone habits. In consultation with your dog’s vet or behavioural expert, you could determine if your dog can be diagnosed with separation anxiety or help get to the root of the problem. Consulting with an expert is important, as your dog could show symptoms of other potential behavioural problems, not solely separation anxiety.

Helping your dog when you are out

Here are a few FnN #ExpertAdvice tips that can help gradually reduce your dog’s separation anxiety. 

Separation disorder happens more often than not when a dog has lived in more than one or other homes throughout their life or if you live alone with your dog. Unfortunately, there is no cure-all for the disorder, but there are actions you can take to help your dog stay calm when you are gone.

  1. If you have a younger dog, it’s important to allow them to get used to your absence as soon as possible by providing them with a quiet and safe place where your dog will be sure to be comfortable. Feed them and ensure they have water, and leave a few different types of toys around so they can keep occupied while you’re gone.
  2.  Some people find it helpful to leave either the television, radio or music on when the dog is alone, so they are not left in complete silence and have some background noise. 
  3. It’s easy to want to tell your dog goodbye and that you will be right back, and because you missed them so much while you are gone, rush home to greet them immediately upon re-entering your home. As tempting as this is, it is better to wait at least 20 to 30 minutes to engage with them to allow your dog to gradually decrease its reaction to seeing you, leaving them in a calmer state.
  4. Without leaving, put your coat on, lace up your shoes or handle your keys. This will prevent your dog from associating these gestures with your departure.
  5. If the dog roams freely in your house, offer them different areas where they can rest and relax throughout your home. Sometimes a crate may not be the best solution to the problem. Some dogs like tight spaces, but for others, it may induce more anxiety if they feel too cramped. If you are ever concerned about letting your dog roam while you are gone, a diaper may be a good solution for them (yes, a diaper!). Some are designed specifically for dogs and can help with unexpected surprises when you get home. 

Separation anxiety is a behavioural disorder that should be taken seriously with dogs because it is a constant state of panic that could be affecting their overall general health. Consider consulting with an Expert or an animal health professional to find the right solution for your situation!

Susan Wells

Store Manager, Bridgewater NS