There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day at work to your adoring dog who has been waiting for you to return since the moment you left. Unfortunately for many, however, this return isn’t as pleasant as it should be. If you’re greeted by an overexcited pup that drags you into the living room to show off his or her handy work, which usually involves chewing your prized possessions and driving the neighbours mad with constant barking and howling, your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Signs of separation anxiety in dogs:
- Excessive barking or howling.
- Anxious behaviours such as whining, pacing or shaking.
- Destructive behaviours such as chewing or digging.
- Drooling and panting.
- Prolonged attempts at escaping the room or area they’re in.
- Accidents such as urinating.
- Overexcitement when you return or constant following around the house.
If you found yourself nodding whilst reading this list, then you’re probably wondering what you can do to quickly stop this unwanted behaviour, both for your sanity and your dog’s comfort. Fortunately, there are many tactics you can use to start to reduce separation anxiety and we’ve pulled together the top ones to help you get started.
If your dog is particularly nervous whilst left alone, start small. Leave your dog for just 5 minutes at a time, building up the time you spend away from them slowly so that they don’t notice the change. At first, they might make the usual fuss so it may be easier if you leave the house, rather than the room, so that you’re not tempted to go and calm them down. Once you notice that they can manage half an hour without destroying your favourite shoes or trashing the kitchen, you can start to increase the time intervals.
Tire them out
Making time to take your pooch out for a walk before you head off to work is crucial in helping reduce separation anxiety. Not only will it burn off any excess energy that can lead to destructive behaviours, but it’s also quality time for the both of you before you leave them in a calm, resting state which is how you want them to remain whilst you’re out the house.
Don’t make leaving a big deal
It’s only natural for us to want to make a fuss of our dogs before we leave, give them kisses, cuddles and tell them how much we’re going to miss them, but this could actually be contributing to the problem. By quietly leaving the house without any of the fuss, you’re showing them that there’s nothing to worry about and you’re not leaving them worked up from all the excitement of saying goodbye.
Turn on the tunes
Numerous studies have found that familiar sounds can have a calming effect on dogs. Why not leave a radio on low in the room they’re in, or perhaps an audiobook, as the sound of a human voice can help reduce separation anxiety whilst you’re not around.
Introduce calming products
There are a wide range of natural products designed specifically to calm down anxious pets. If your dog is food orientated, calming treats are a tasty way to introduce healthy and natural calming remedies such as chamomile and hemp. Other products include diffusers that create a calming environment, fast acting calming sprays to give them just before you leave and even shampoos.
At The Natural Pet Store, we stock a number of calming products that are not only great for soothing anxious pups, but also made from all natural ingredients that are packed full of health benefits.