While you have a lot of things going on around you, like work, relationships and hobbies, your dog has only you in its life. Pets treat their owners as their best friends and own family, so imagine how sad it could be for them not to see you around for a few hours, which perhaps could also feel like forever to them.
If you ever wondered what does it mean when your dog follows you everywhere every time they see you leaving the house or go crazy with joy and excitement once you come home, then they could be experiencing separation anxiety. Just like humans, dogs can also feel stressed and anxious from time to time. In fact, one scientific report shows that more than 70% of dogs belonging to 264 different breeds manifests anxiety-like behaviours.
While all breeds can be diagnosed with separation anxiety, symptoms can vary from one pup to another. Some may develop a form of destructive behaviour, such as chewing items like shoes and furnishings or clawing the doors while you’re out. Others might become restless and aggressive, barking and howling to excess for no particular reason.
Although these symptoms are something most dogs experience occasionally, if abnormal stress and anxiety levels are left untreated, your dog can develop an anxiety disorder and other related behavioral issues. So, what can you do to protect your dog from such illnesses?
We’re here to tackle everything a dog parent needs to know about separation anxiety, its common roots and essential treatments. While a vet’s involvement is necessary, there are many natural ways to help ease those symptoms. But it’s best to be patient as it will take time to figure out which solution(s) your dog may respond to the most.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety occurs when a dog that’s super attached to its owner can’t find sanity and comfort when left alone at home or separated from its original family members. The symptoms are more than the usual whining when you leave or some shenanigans while you’re away. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, it may lose its appetite and become completely stressed and aloof over time.
Everything from abandonment, change of ownership, and fear of being left alone are some of the most common causes of separation anxiety among dogs. In order to find a relevant solution, you need to understand what triggers your dog’s anxiety. This condition is often manifested in easily identified behaviours. Once you notice certain changes in their moods and behaviours, don’t wait for another day to create an action plan. If symptoms are mild, here are a few natural remedies to begin with.
Giving Special Treats
Give your dog a special surprise every time you leave to help brighten up their moods. It could be a cute toy plushie or a delicious treat that’s new to their tastes. Only give them this particular treat when you’re about to leave and while you’re gone. Once you’re home, it’s time to take that treat away from your dog to give it a sense of rareness. So that the next time you’ll be leaving your dog at home, they will look forward to the same surprise you previously gave them. The anxieties that they feel when you’re about to leave may be replaced with feelings of excitement toward those little surprises.
Training and Mental Stimulation
During playtimes with your dog, teach them a new trick or any interactive game that challenges their minds. This way helps to divert their attention from whatever is causing the fear. You can walk them to the park, let them explore new things and meet new people and other pets. This way helps relieve your dog’s separation anxiety, especially when it is developed out of boredom.
Doing physical activities and training sessions with your dog is essential to help stimulate their cognitive skills and physical fitness. It also serves as your quality time together—something many anxious dogs crave after being alone for a few hours or days.
A CBD-infused Diet
CBD pet food is revolutionising the pet wellness industry because of its many potential benefits. CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural substance known for its relaxing properties, which many pet owners find useful for managing their pet’s mood and behaviour. Don’t forget to consult your vet first and foremost to make sure it won’t influence the efficiency of other medications that your pet might be taking.
According to a 2017 study, music therapy may have beneficial effects for both humans and our four-legged friends. The softness and relaxing vibe of music may help soothe your dog’s noise sensitivities by blocking the loud and scary noises from the streets. The researchers examine different dog breeds with various genres of music playing. The result shows that reggae, soft rock and classical music are the most efficient. Be sure to consider what your dog enjoys, as individuals have distinctive preferences.
If you’re a bit worried that a long duration of music playing might hurt your dog’s ears, there are ways to control it while you’re travelling or at work. You can have the power to manage your playlist, feed your dog and even interact with them from the other side of the world through your smartphone. You just need to install a home automation system that includes a camera, giving you access to your home and your pet from virtually anywhere.
Sometimes, a simple caress is what your pet needs in order to stay calm and collected. To them, there is probably nothing more comforting than their owner’s touch. One of the best ways to soothe a dog’s anxiety is by giving them the love and affection they need. If they seem a bit lonely and terrified, try to pick them up and shower them with your kisses and cuddles. However, if their emotions won’t be distracted by physical contact, then it might be best to contact your vet for advice.
Separation anxiety can have a detrimental impact on the quality of your dog’s life, as well as your own. Our dogs are so important to us, but there will be inevitable occasions when we have to leave them for a little while. If it seems a bit hard for your dog to see you go, try one of our natural solutions above, and see what difference they might make.