10 Things You Need to Know About Dog Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a very common concern among pet owners. However, despite being common, a lot of them still struggle to understand the condition. Some pet owners feel too frustrated with their dogs that they choose to abandon them. There are pet owners who resort to using force and punishment in an attempt to solve the situation.
In reality, these things only make things worse.
If you are struggling to treat your dog’s separation anxiety, here are the top ten things you need to know about the condition.
1. It doesn’t have a definite reason
There’s no definite reason why dogs develop separation anxiety. The condition, however, is triggered by scenarios that result in panic. This includes being left alone when your dog is used to human contact, being exposed to a traumatic event or change in the family’s structure or routine.
2. Never leave your dogs for more than 8 hours at a time
For your dog’s health, limit the number of hours you’re away. The longer you are gone, the more anxious your dog will feel.
In addition to making him anxious, leaving your dog for a long time can also compromise his health. Dogs, no matter what their age, shouldn’t be expected to be able to hold their bladders for more than 8 hours.
Puppies, in general, can only hold their bladders for 4 hours. Older and sick dogs may have to pee more frequently than younger and healthier dogs.
3. It manifests differently in dogs
Some dogs exhibit destructive behaviours when they are left alone. They can start chewing on furniture, scratch carpets and break things at home. Meanwhile, there are dogs that resort to whining, howling and barking in an attempt to reunite with their owners.
There are dogs that experience excessive panting, licking and trembling. Urination and defecation when your dog is well-trained are signs of separation anxiety, too.
4. Punishment won’t help
Getting home after a hard day’s work only to find your furniture and valuables broken and torn into pieces can easily make you angry. Although it’s tempting to physically punish your dog, remain calm and be objective.
Using punishment can only make your dog’s anxiety stronger. In addition to the trauma, your dog will likely associate your absence with negative effects, too. As a result, he’ll feel more anxious and worried about your return.
5. Getting another dog isn’t the solution
Contrary to what most people believe in, separation anxiety in dogs doesn’t result from being alone. In essence, it is your dog’s response to being separated from you. Getting your dog a companion won’t solve the issue. It can even make him feel uncomfortable, especially with the change in the family’s structure.
6. Lack of obedience training doesn’t always lead to separation anxiety
Engaging your dog in a formal training can help him with socialization. Failure to do so, however, doesn’t mean that your dog will develop behavioural issues right away. Separation anxiety is a whole different issue and requires a different approach to solve.
7. Providing distraction can help keep your dog from destroying your home
Providing chew and food dispensing toys is one good way to help your dog pass away the long hours of not being with you. They also make a good distraction to keep your dog from chewing your valuable items at home. You can set up a couple of pet cameras at home to check on your dog from time to time.
8. A dirty laundry can provide a calming scent
Leaving a piece of your used clothing can calm your dog by providing an olfactory cue. Since they can’t be with you, they are trying to find a way to remain close to you and your scent makes a great alternative.
9. Leaving some background noise can help break the silence
Leaving your radio turned on or playing a soothing music while you’re gone can help ease your dog’s anxiety. There are tracks specially created for dogs having this issue.
Take note that this approach may not work for all dogs. Some of them can experience an increase in anxiety when exposed to foreign sounds and noises. Before you actually leave your dog with some music, be sure to test it out first. Play a track, leave the room and see how your dog will respond.
10. Aromatherapy works for dogs, too
Like humans, dogs can also benefit from aromatherapy. Lavender, when used properly can help calm dogs and ease away stress. Chamomile, cedar and peppermint also have the same effects.
You can use these essential oils as spritzers or you can add them in air diffusers and shampoos. Although you can use them in candles, too, it isn’t generally recommended especially if you’ll be leaving your pet alone at home.
About the Author: Rose Cabrera reviews pet cameras and other gadgets for TopSecurityReview.com. She spends most of her free time walking and playing with her adorable shih-tzus.