Separation anxiety affects as many as 50 percent of dogs, according to research published in the journal Frontiers of Veterinary Science, with symptoms appearing as everything from mild lip-licking to aggressive destruction within the home. This behavioral issue can be a huge source of frustration and despair for pet owners, forcing many people to look for home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs.
If you are one of the many owners who have come home to find door knobs destroyed, couches torn apart, and structural elements of your home disintegrated, the options likely feel very limited.
Before you surrender your beloved canine to a local shelter or new home, know there are things you can do to make the situation better for you and your pet. After all, your pet is the one suffering; the destruction is just a sign that all is not well.
Why do we home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs?
Every canine case is a bit different when it comes to separation anxiety, but experts in the veterinary community understand the underlying component of this issue is fear. For some dogs, separation anxiety comes from a fear of loud noises, or a fear of being alone as a result of poor socialization as puppies. Other fear-related causes of separation anxiety include:
- Loud noises (fireworks, gunshots, thunder)
- Environmental discomfort (slippery floors)
- Changes in the environment (new changes in the home)
- New people and animals
- New situations (being left at a boarding facility)
- Fear of being separated from the family
- Situational memories (memories of when being alone was traumatic)
Remember, when you leave the home, things change. The house becomes quiet. Things outside suddenly seem louder and closer, and environmental problems like slippery floors become the focus of concern for dogs without other distractions.
The signs of separation anxiety in dogs
Home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs vary in efficacy based on the symptoms your dog is showing. Not every dog turns into a wild monster once you are gone. Some may have subtle changes in behavior that go unnoticed for a very long time, though the most common tell-tale signs include:
- Excessive drooling/salivation
- Destructive behaviors
- Loss of appetite
- Inappropriate urination and defecation in the home
The level of home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs that you implement will depend on just how dire your personal situation is and how your dogs behavior is affecting both of your lives. Treating separation anxiety in dogs that cower, for example, may not require the level of intervention as for dogs that initiate self-harm.
Simple home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs
The good news for pet owners who are at their wits’ end is that there are some simple home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs to be tried at home. The key to success will be finding the right option, or combination of options, that works for your canine companion.
Breaking old habits
Perhaps one of the most important of home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs is the control of stress triggers, or situations you know that will send your dog into an anxiety spiral. For dogs with separation anxiety, many of these cues are things owners do when they leave the home, like pick up keys, or put on a coat. These habits cue dogs that a stressful time of being alone is about to happen, kicking off the anxiety spiral. To help break your pet out of this vicious cycle, start changing up your habits. Instead of putting on your coat and leaving, put on your coat and go sit on the couch for a while, then take it back off. If you always start your car before you go, start your car and then turn it off and come back inside. Similarly, pick your keys up randomly throughout the day to disassociate this with leaving.
Creating a “safe place”
One of the big factors of canine insecurity while you are away is the lack of a feeling of safe. To help your dog address this, work to create a haven during the time you are home. This could be setting up a comfortable kennel in the kitchen where your dog is given treats and toys. Or this could be a room or a bed that is your dog’s go-to place. This safe haven should be associated with happy moments, not the kennel your dog is sent to only when he or she is being punished.
Establishing a favorite food toy
A common warning sign of separation anxiety in dogs is that of appetite loss, so if your dog is willing to eat while you are away, this is a step in the right direction. Food toys, toys that make your dog spend time working for an edible reward, are a great way to encourage activity and distraction while you are away. Work to find a toy your dog looks forward to, and leave this with them in their safe space before you go as one of the easiest home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs.
Consider new clothes
In both the human and animal world, there is something to be said about the calming effects of gentle pressure on the body. Much like a hug, weighted shirts can help make anxious animals feel secure. While there are a number of commercial products available, sometimes just one of your shirts can add enough comfort to your pet, and what’s more they will be comforted by your smell. Just make sure the shirt isn’t too bulky or presents any way your dog could get tangled while you are not home.
Set a good example of behavior
An easy change and addition to home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs is to act how you’d like your dog to act during stressful moments. If there are fireworks going off, be calm. You are doing your pet no favors by getting worked up, worried they are going to be worked up.
Introduce your own sounds
Sound is one of the primary causes of fear in dogs, particularly when owners are away from home. Instead of leaving everything silent when you go, leave some soothing music on for your pet, or leave the television on a laid-back channel. Just remember not to turn the volume up too much; you don’t want the television to become the source of stress.
Increase your pet’s exercise routine
Exercise is wonderful for many reasons, and anxiety relief for dogs one of them. This is a fantastic joint-effort option of home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs, and owners may find they benefit from it, too. Exercise releases endorphins and helps relieve stress. Get your dog out for some much needed
Spare the rod, spoil the child
During the therapy process for separation anxiety, it is important to not punish your dog. The undesirable behaviors you are seeing are a cry for help, and punishment is like rubbing salt into a wound. Your dog isn’t trying to get you back for leaving the home. If anything, your dog is so distressed that you’re gone, it’s only relief is seeing you walk back through the door. Don’t turn that moment into an unpleasant one.
Socialize your dog
One of the more surprising home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs comes from actively working toward improving your dog’s worldly exposure. Take your dog places and regularly introduce new people and situations from the moment you begin pet ownership. Working through these moments together, in a happy, relaxed way, will make your dog less likely to feel uncertainty when you are not around.
Try a Kitsie CBD product for your dog
Cannabidiol (CBD) products are at the forefront of options for owners looking for home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs. These all natural products offer a means of boosting your dog’s mood while keeping a calm, relaxed mindset. CBD can help take the edge off of stressful moments and can make the difference in how effective behavioral modification options are at home. Kitsie products are 100 percent all natural, non-GMO, vegan and cruelty-free, and all products are 100 percent THC-free, making them the perfect support product of home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs.