Separation Anxiety is already known to humans, but much to others surprise pets like dogs and cats could also have that SepAnx. A simple whining upon your leave could be a sign that your dog is having separation anxiety. A lot of dog owners are actually unaware that their pets are going through such distress, others even had it mistaken as just another normal bad dog behavior or they just lack home training. However, it is our responsibility as a parent to a furry baby to know when they are experiencing a SepAnx and what are some home remedies for separation anxiety in your dogs?
The reckless behavior of our dog friend could lead us to great anger, but don’t be angry too soon. Let us first understand better why your distressed doggo is behaving in such a manner and how you could help them before everything could be too late.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation Anxiety or SepAnx for short usually happens when your overly attached furry friend gets really stressed out and in panic upon your absence at your home or when they are being left out. They could get very sad and distress when you leave them alone and get overly happy and hyped up when you get home. Because of their distress, they might attempt to get out of your house which could get them into serious injury or cause some destruction inside your house. Often times, this serious condition has become why pet parents would get frustrated and turn in their pets to the city pound.
Isolation Anxiety vs Separation Anxiety
Others have mistakenly interchanged these two, while it is apparent that both isolation anxiety and separation anxiety have similar symptoms and will panic upon their owner’s departure, it has a different cure to their panic. Isolation anxiety is a milder form of separation anxiety, the doggo gets distressed when left alone but they automatically calm down at the presence of other trusted human they can hang out with. However, in a more serious case with separation anxiety, the dog will only calm down under their human parents’ presence.
Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
There could be a lot of reasons why your dog is having separation anxiety. So it is important that we should first identify the causes of such behavior.
- They were used to having the company of their humans and suddenly they were abruptly left alone for the first time.
- Death of a family member
- New owner
- Constant transfer from initial adoption then back to shelter and so on
- Puppyhood trauma
- Birth of a new family member
- Placed into a new environment like from shelter to a home
Aside from the situational causes mentioned above, there are also cases where dogs have naturally inherited this anxiety and fear of being alone from their genes. It is neither their fault nor our fault, so let us understand them better before acting harshly on the situation.
Symptoms of SepAnx
There are mild to serious symptoms you should check when identifying your dog is having a Separation Anxiety. Some of these symptoms are definitely not something great or something we would wish to see after a long day at work.
Urinating and Defecating
Some of the dogs urinate and defecate in random places when they are left alone. So, if your dogs are already house trained and when under your presence they only discharge to the place where they should discharge, then all of a sudden when you get home after work there is urine and feces scattered around your house, there is a high chance that your dog is experiencing distress.
Another symptom to look out on your pet dogs is if they wouldn’t almost stop barking and howling when left alone. It is different however if they bark upon your leave then it would stop after a few seconds or a minute.
Destruction of Things around the House
One of the most common symptoms experienced by dogs is becoming overly hyper and destructive. They would scratch your doors and windows, gnaw at your couches, papers, books and even break objects. This is because of too much panic and fear they are having that they wouldn’t know what to do; it is no surprise though because even we humans who are more intelligent by nature wouldn’t know what to do under panic mode.
Try to Escape
Another symptom of SepAnx on your furry friends is if they would try to escape your place to follow and find you. This could be another reason why they would destruct your house and scratch on your doors. You should be mindful about this though, because this could lead to a serious injury to your dogs- they would even scratch till they bleed, they wouldn’t care about it so long as they could get into you.
A guilt trip is a less common symptom of separation anxiety in your dogs. If your dog looks very depressed and he seems like a mountain of problems weighs in his shoulders, and he won’t even look at you when you arrive home that could be a sign of guilt trip.
Intense Pacing Back and Forth
Just like how we go back and forth when we are anxious, dogs would also walk back and forth or in circular patterns when they are distressed.
- Excessive panting and salivation
- Crying and hiding when they sense that you are leaving
- No appetite
Keep in mind though, that if these situations don’t usually happen under your presence then it could not be a sign of Separation Anxiety.
Dogs that are Prone to SepAnx
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Cocker Spaniels
- Toy Breeds
- Australian Shepherd
False Behavioral Problems
If you notice some of the behavioral problems mentioned above, do not jump into conclusion that your dog has SepAnx right away. It could be a symptom of other common behavior problems. Do look out of these following behavior problems that have the same symptoms as SepAnx.
Potential Health Issues
If your dog would start urinating randomly around your house, it could be that he has a kidney problem or UTI. It is better to have your dog checked with the vet to confirm if he/she has a medical health problem.
Side Effect of a Medication
Another thing to check is if your pet is taking medication. Double-check what are the side effects of the drug your pet is taking and if there are side effects that are the same with SepAnx.
There are pets that urinate if they get overly excited during a greeting especially when you touch and play with them.
It could be really true that “boredom could kill”, because even dogs would resort to destruction and being disruptive when they become bored. So before you conclude that your dog has a separation anxiety make sure that they are not just bored.
Lack of House Training
Another thing why dogs would urinate and poop anywhere inside you house, it’s because they were not properly trained to urinate and defecate in the right place.
Natural Remedies for Separation Anxiety on Dogs
There are a lot of ways to treat your fur baby’s separation anxiety, and 2 known ways are to show them how to have fun and gradually teach them to tolerate being alone. This process may take up a few months and would require you to do a little bit of experimenting and set up several settings. So here are some home remedies for separation anxiety in your dogs.
Homeopathy is a known cure for humans especially for anxieties, traumas, depressions and other known ailments with the use of a small substance of a plant or mineral. These days, a homeopathic remedy is being used as one of the home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs- help them with their anxiety and trauma. You can visit or ask your holistic veterinarian for the best homeopathic relief for your pet. The following can be a good homeopathic relief for your pet’s separation anxiety:
This is used as a common remedy to help pets with their SepAnx. You can either give them to your dog directly to their mouth or add it to their water in a dose of 6c or 30c. It can be associated with dogs who have an extreme fear of being alone.
This can be a good remedy for your dog with SepAnx who becomes overly active or releases urine and feces involuntarily because of too much stress. A 6c or 30c dose could also be given directly to their mouth or in their water.
Passion Flower and Oatstraw
Both of these are known as a calming remedy for pets who has separation anxiety and is daily given in small amounts in their waters.
Other Homeopathic Remedy:
- Phosphoric acid
- Calcium Phosphate
- Kava kava
- Argentum nitricum
Another option you could try as one of the best home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs is Desensitizing. The goal of desensitizing your pet is to make them feel less sensitive or distress at situations that cause them anxiety. This requires an up to down process where you start doing things that don’t trigger their anxiety then gradually move to behaviors that will trigger such distress. The process may take a few months depending on how your pet would adapt and accept your behavior.
You can do the following repeated steps to desensitize your pet: (Note: Do not do this in one day. Miracles don’t happen in a day.)
- Open your door when your dog is watching then shut it without actually going out, then return to whatever you are doing.
- Go out of your door then re-enter right away after closing your door.
- Gradually increase the time you are outside your door from 15 seconds to 30 seconds then 1 minute until they could tolerate longer hours without whining. You may have to repeat the same time interval until your dog won’t react to it before increasing the time.
Use of Flower Essence
One common flower essence remedy used to cure or calm anxiety is the Bach Flower Essence. And the most common one used in the market is the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy which contains 5 different Bach Flower Essence like Impatiens, Cherry Plum, Star of Bethlehem, Rock Rose, and Clematis.
Play Music/Pre-Recorded Household Sounds
Playing some calm music would help your dog to relax. Make sure not to play those rock n’ roll or rap music though; it may just worsen their behavior. Also playing some pre-recorded household sounds may help your dog think that someone or you are still with them in the house. You should start playing this while you are still around or you are normally in the house so they won’t associate this as a sign that you are leaving.
Exercise Your Dog
Doing a morning exercise routine with your dog will relax them as exercising stimulates the release of serotonin which gives us and even your dog that feel good feeling. It could also make them tired so when coming home all could they think about is to either eat or sleep. You can find some indoor exercise with your dogs if you don’t have the luxury time to go out.
Leave Your Worn Clothes
Your smell on your worn clothes will help your dog feel comfortable and calm.
We do sometimes love the fact that our furry friend is overly attached to us and would always want to be under our presence. However, it is best to know how serious their attachment to you is, we don’t want any serious injury to happen to our dog friend when you get separated from them.
Keep in mind that these remedies for separation anxiety in your dogs that are mentioned above wouldn’t miraculously cure your dog problem in a day. It takes a lot of patience and time to help your fur friend.
Frequently Asked Question:
Should I resort to crate training for my dog?
Crate training could be a hit or miss solution to help your anxious dogs. There are dogs that find comfort in the crate after a few careful process. However, there are also dogs that become more anxious and distress as a result of the crate. A careful monitor during crate training is especially needed if you are planning to crate your dog.
Earlier my Cavapoo developed separation anxiety and destructive chewing. Once I came home from school and found out that she had chewed the furniture and some of my shoes. Sometimes, she’d start barking and do it continuously without any break. But luckily, my behaviorist was able to take care of it and my babe Koko is happy and doesn’t show any aggressive behavior.