HOW TO ADDRESS SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS

We all want to make sure our dogs are happy and healthy! But we can also feel the strain if our dog exhibits destructive or naughty behaviour while we’re out of the house. Along with excessive barking, soiling, salivating and escapist tendencies, these can be the symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs. As pack animals, canines can get stressed out when left alone. All is not lost, however, and here’s our advice on how to address separation anxiety in dogs!

Separation Anxiety - Jack Russell Terrier looks out of window

Slow and steady

When getting your pooch used to being left alone, begin by leaving the room for short periods of time. Build it up gradually, leaving the house for longer periods when you feel the time’s right. Once your dog knows you’ll always come back, they should be more at ease.

Routine

Dogs are creatures of habit! Maintaining the same routine every time you go out can help to reassure them that it’s nothing out of the ordinary. If they’re used to the routine, they’ll see it as just something that happens.

Treat them

To help your dog associate being left alone with something positive, give them a tasty treat or their favourite toy when you leave. A stuffed and frozen Kong or calf’s hoof might do the trick nicely!

Exercise

Make sure your pup is well exercised before you leave them alone for any long period of time. This will help to wear them out, increasing the chances that they’ll spend their time sleeping peacefully until your return.

Separation Anxiety - Schnauzer puppy has destroyed cushion

Shhhhhh! 

If your dog barks excessively when you’re away, it might be due to noise from outside or seeing people and cars through the window. When you go out, try leaving the radio on in another room and closing the curtains to minimise any potential disturbances.

Remain calm

Don’t make a big deal about going out or getting back! Giving your dog a long and drawn out goodbye might make them worry. When you return make sure to greet them calmly, as this can reinforce the idea that being left alone isn’t the worst thing in the world. Try not to worry or stress, it’s actually been proven that dogs can mirror the stress levels of their owners!

Be kind

It can be frustrating when your dog has caused damage or toileted indoors. However, punishing them for this could be the wrong approach. They won’t understand what you’re telling them off for, so will become confused, and might even learn that it’s a way to get your attention! Letting them know you’re not angry with them might achieve better results in the long run.

Separation Anxiety - West Highland Terrier waits for owner to return

Know their limits

The most important thing to remember is never to leave them alone for too long! If you know they can’t hold their bladder for more than four hours, don’t leave them alone for eight. In cases where you really have to be out all day hiring a dog walker or sitter might be the best option.

Separation anxiety can be difficult for both dogs and their owners, but we hope our advice can help your dog to feel safe and secure on their own! Another way to help protect your pooch could be to take out dog insurance. At The Insurance Emporium, we offer flexible Dog Insurance with up to 30% discount* and Standard Benefits such as Vet’s Fees cover up to £8,000^. Head to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!  

* The 30% discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Multi-pet Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.

^ Vet’s Fees cover up to £8,000 available on lunar monthly Lifetime Gold policies.

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