Have you ever thought, “I think my dog may have separation anxiety,” but were not really sure?

Well here are a few questions you can ask yourself in order to get a better idea, and be able to help your dog cope better when you are gone.Dog scratching door

  • Does my dog exhibit dramatic anxiety responses within a short period of time if I leave the house?
  • Does the behavior only occurs when my dog is left alone?
  • Does my dog follow me around while I am at home?
  • Does my dog react with excitement, depression or anxiety when I am getting ready to leave?
  • Does my dog display frantic greeting behaviors?
  • Does my dog not like spending time alone outdoors?

Some of the common separation anxiety behaviors that your dog may exhibit are:

Urinating and defecating in the house. If your house trained dog does not normally urinate or defecate in the house when you are around, his house soiling could be caused by separation anxiety.  Barking and howling is another sign of separation anxiety, especially if it is not a behavior that they are doing when you are around.

Chewing, digging and destruction are other signs of your dog having anxiety from being left alone. He is at risk for hurting himself by breaking teeth, cutting and scraping his paws and damaged nails.

Another behavior you may see is your dog trying to escape from where you leave him when you are gone. He will do this by digging, and scraping on doors or windows, and unfortunately again is putting himself at risk for injury.

When your dog is showing some of these behaviors like destruction, and going to the bathroom in the house, that occurs with separation anxiety, he is not doing it to seek revenge on you for leaving him.  It is simply a part of a panic response.

There are some things that you can do if you suspect that your dog has separation anxiety. Try keeping the atmosphere when you leave and come home as low key as possible. You can also leave him with a piece of your clothingDog looking out a window, with your scent on it. Also try leaving the radio or TV on when you are gone so that he knows when you will be coming back.

Treatment for seperation anxiety

Treatment for separation anxiety may take a while, and if your dog has separation anxiety he can cause quite a bit of damage to himself or your home. Here are some things that you can try to help with the separation anxiety:

  • Scheduling regular mid-day dog walking to give him a regular break
  • Try taking him to a doggy day care while you are gone to work
  • Leave him with a friend or family member
  • Make sure he is getting lots of exercise when you are around
  • Talk to your vet about ways to help your dog cope with the separation anxiety.

Hopefully by being able to see the signs and symptoms early you will be able to get your dog they help that he needs to be happy and healthy when you are away.

photo credit: Anxiety via photopin (license) and Bones in Heaven via photopin (license)