ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Separation Anxiety In Dogs and How To Manage It

Updated on August 31, 2018
Source

Do you find your slippers in tatters by the time you come home? Your pet could be experiencing separation anxiety.

You'll probably want to know why your dog destroys everything whenever you're not at home. More importantly, you'll want to know how to help it so that you won't lose another pair of slippers.

What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs

A dog develops separation anxiety when it's apart from its owners or caregivers. If it is extreme, the dog may try to escape from its home. The condition may result in destruction, especially at exit points like doors or windows. The dog may injure itself while trying to get out of them.

Source

Causes of Separation Anxiety

No evidence points to why dogs develop separation anxiety. However, some dogs have the propensity for it. Here are the reasons it may affect your pet.

1. Separation anxiety triggers

a. Loss of pack members

Dogs are pack animals. Notably, more rescue dogs have this problem than those kept by families since puppyhood. A drastic shift in circumstances or a loss of pack members can lead to separation anxiety.

2. Change of guardian

Being given to a new family can lead to separation anxiety. The dog probably needs time to adjust to different circumstances. Shifts in household membership because of divorce or a death in the family may also lead to the condition.

3. Changes in schedule

Changes in a family's routine can affect a dog. Taking on a job that requires you to lengthen the time your pet is left alone can trigger separation anxiety.

4. Changes in residence

Moving to a new home may mean that your pet will no longer meet up with its friends. It may develop separation anxiety.

Source

The Difference Between Boredom and Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety doesn't explain all the abnormal behavior your pet displays. So, is your pet experiencing it, or is it just feeling bored?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between boredom and separation anxiety because their signs are similar. Here's how to spot the difference.

1. Boredom

Humans feel bored because of a lack of stimulation, as do pets. Walking the same route and eating the same food every day is mundane.

Your pet needs a change of routine, and will probably entertain itself if there isn't any. It may chew or bark to occupy itself. Taking it to explore new places or trips to dog runs usually solves the problem.

2. Separation Anxiety

A dog experiencing separation anxiety, however, shows more extreme behaviors. Overcoming the insecurity of being apart from a favorite pack member can be challenging.

Some of these behaviors are learned. You may greet your pet as excitedly as it does when you come home; this will cause it to jump and bark. Consequently, it will yearn for you when you leave your home.

Source

Signs of Separation Anxiety

A bored dog typically exhibits misbehavior like chewing, digging or barking. However, one experiencing separation anxiety will have more extreme responses than these. Here are some of them.

1. Potty Training Accidents

First of all, you'll notice your pet peeing and pooping in the wrong places when you're not at home. Anxiety floods the body with stress hormones that put pressure on the bladder. Your pet may not be able to control itself despite being housetrained.

2. Too Much Excitement

Our pets are always excited to see us when we come home. However, yours may have separation anxiety if it cannot control itself. They may not calm down for up to 30 minutes after you arrive. It may have been so depressed the whole day that your return is a huge relief.

3. Destructive behavior

There's nothing more aggravating than coming home after a long work day to find your favorite house slippers destroyed. If your pet has separation anxiety, it won't just chew your slippers; it may even chew through your drywall. Your furry friend may also ruin your whole garden to alleviate its fears. The destruction can be extreme.

4. Excessive barking or howling

Do your neighbors visit you frequently with complaints about your dog's constant barking? If more than one neighbor raises an outcry, there is cause for concern.

A dog has a case of severe anxiety if it barks all the time. If you're at work during the day, use a webcam to track its movements and find out how much hit barks.

5. Distress when leaving

Is your pet visibly upset when you leave your home? Does it pant, pace, whine or bark? Your pet has separation anxiety if it becomes upset as soon as you try to leave your home.

6. Escaping from a crate or a confined space

Do you come home to find that your pet has escaped from its crate? Does it pull the metal bars of its cage apart with its teeth? If your pet has cuts on its body as a result of its efforts, it has separation anxiety.

Perhaps your pet leaves unnoticeable marks on the bars or moves the crate ever so slightly across the room. These are less visible signs of escape.

How to Cure Separation Anxiety in Dogs And Puppies

Managing Separation Anxiety

Dealing with destruction and mess is stressful. The good news is that you can help your anxious pet.

1. Change your signals regularly

First, make regular changes to your going~away signals. If you live in a house, leave by different doors. Go out at different times. Remember to distract your pet with a toy.

2. Don't fuss when greeting

All pets are excited to see their owners when they come home. However, giving in to your pet's excitement reinforces your dog's fear of your absence. Don't show affection to it until it has calmed down.

3. Exercise your pet

Walk your pet a few minutes before work. It will be too tired to notice that you have left.

4. Train your dog to be alone

Prepare your pet for the times it will be alone. Leave it in one part of the house while you go somewhere else. Start with five-minute intervals and increase them as you go.

5. Create Personal Space

Some owners love to cuddle up with their pets. That's understandable because they offer warmth and comfort. However, your pet needs to enjoy its space and be independent. Give it a crate or dog bed that it can call its own.

6. Leave comfort items

Dogs feel reassured by their owners' scents. Leave an old shirt for yours to chew on when you leave your home. Put on some background music for your pet as well.

7. Don't leave your dog for too long

Don't spend too much time away from your pet if it has separation anxiety. Put on soft music for it before you leave your home: it will know that you will return.

In all, separation anxiety is troubling but manageable. It takes patience and effort.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 weeks ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Chitrangada!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 weeks ago from Singapore

      Hi, Manatita! Thanks for the kind words! They are close to us indeed!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      6 weeks ago from london

      A pretty facinating read. I guess that they are close to us humans. Perhaps pretty developed too. Thanks Michelle.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice and useful information for dog lovers and for those who have them as pets. I learnt a lot from your well explained article.

      Thanks for sharing!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)