Does your dog get nervous when he sees you getting ready to leave the house? Does he go bonkers with joy when you come home? Did he destroy your shoes, claw the door, or chew the corner off an end table while you were gone?
If the above is true, then your dog could have separation anxiety.
What Is It?
Separation anxiety happens when a dog that’s hyper-attached to his owner gets super-stressed when left alone. It's more than a little whining when you leave or a bit of mischief while you’re out. It's a serious condition and one of the main reasons owners get frustrated with their dogs and give them up. But there are plenty of things you can do to help.
First, understand what causes your dog to act this way:
- Being left alone for the first time or when he’s used to being with people
- Change of ownership
- Moving from a shelter to a home
- Change in family routine or schedule
- Loss of a family member
Signs of Separation Anxiety
A dog who has it shows a lot of stress when he’s alone. He might:
- Howl, bark, or whine to excess
- Have indoor "accidents" even though he’s housebroken
- Chew things up, dig holes, scratch at windows and doors
- Drool, pant, or salivate way more than usual
- Pace, often in an obsessive pattern
- Try to escape
He likely won't do any of these things to an extreme while you’re around. A normal dog might do some of these things once in a while, but one with separation anxiety will do them almost all the time.
- Give your dog a special treat each time you leave. Only give him this treat when you're gone, and take it away when you get home. If you are unable to do so, you could use automatic feeders with recordable functionality to let him know that you are near.
- Leave some recently worn clothes out that smell like you.
- Purchase a pet bed that is designed to calm dogs. There are many that are offered on the market but we recommend something that is affordable and does the job.
Disclaimer: The above information is for informational purposes only and was provided by pets.webmd.com (URL)