Schools and workplaces are starting to open up again, and since you've been home for almost six months straight, your pup might start having a hard time now that you'll be out of the house more. Has your dog started expressing unusual behaviors as you’ve made this transition? Or are you being proactive in gathering information on how to ease separation anxiety in your dog since you will be returning to work or school? No matter the reason, we have tips that can help you and your furry friend.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
According to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, separation anxiety is a common behavior disorder in dogs worldwide. Often there are emotional distress behaviors such as:
- Destroying surroundings like door frames, windows, or furniture
- Escaping from their enclosed area
- Objection to eating
- Uncommon urinating or defecating
- Excessive barking or howling
If you're asking, "Will my dog's separation anxiety go away?" The answer is, yes! However, separation anxiety in your dog will not just go away by itself. Depending on the severity of their anxiety, it can take a lot of training or may need a combination of training and medication. Unfortunately, there is no absolute cure for treating separation anxiety, but there are ways to reduce the effects of stress on your dog and you. As pet owners, we never want our dogs to experience pain, including emotional distress.
Harmful Effects Separation Anxiety Can Have For Your Dog
The hardship of emotional pain on your dog is compelling enough to search for separation anxiety treatment, but were you aware that it can cause physical harm to your dog as well? If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, they could cause serious harm to themselves. Trying to escape from crates or rooms can cause bloody paws and noses, and this behavior could worsen depending on the situation they find themselves in trying to escape. Here are some common questions people ask regarding separation anxiety:
Can separation anxiety in dogs cause aggression?
Unfortunately, elevated states of separation anxiety can result in aggression if left untreated. Aggression and anxiety can get confused because dogs with anxiety may express their anxiety by destroying their surroundings, and this can be seen as 'aggressive behavior.'
Can separation anxiety cause seizures?
According to VCA Hospitals, seizures can occur when there is a change in brain activity. These are usually times of excitement or feeding. If your dog has already been diagnosed with seizures, anxiety can be a trigger.
Can separation anxiety in dogs cause vomiting?
One of the most common reasons for a dog to vomit is stress or anxiety. Excessive vomiting or routine vomiting is terrible for your dogs; it is important to consult with your vet about regular vomiting.
While doing research is essential, it is highly recommended that any questions or concerns you have should be directed to your dog's vet. They know what clinically diagnosed separation anxiety is, what it can do, and how to treat it. And in some cases, there can be another underlying medical cause for your pup's behavior.
Treatment for Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Mild Separation Anxiety
There are different severities for separation anxiety in dogs. There is mild separation anxiety that can be treated with training, simple tricks, or toys that give your dog a way to deal with boredom. Here are a few suggestions to combat mild separation anxiety in your dog:
- Make sure they get plenty of routine exercises—at least 30 minutes a day.
- If you take your dog for frequent walks, make sure you switch up the path, this way they are mentally and physically stimulated.
- Provide them with puzzle toys that include treats as the reward, and if you're looking for a delicious long-chew treat, check out our 100% handmade dog macarons made with human-grade ingredients!
- The ASPCA recommends joining a reward-based training class to increase your dog's mental activity. Use the skills learned in these classes and conduct them before you leave for the day.
Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety
On the other hand, if your dog is experiencing severe separation anxiety that causes them to hurt themselves and destroy property, you may need more than just a dog treat puzzle. The ASPCA explains a step-by-step treatment that can help a dog with moderate to severe separation anxiety. What they briefly explain is a desensitization and counterconditioning program. This program is to be conducted by a trained, certified professional to avoid causing fear that can make your dog's anxiety worse.
Medication for Separation Anxiety
When you consult with your vet, they may recommend anti-anxiety medication for your pup. If your dog is experiencing moderate to severe anxiety, medication may be the key to helping your dog. Medication can help your dog be more willing to accept training to overcome and ease their stress. Even dogs with mild symptoms may benefit from medication. Speak with your vet when researching all your options!
Hope For Your Dog and Their Separation Anxiety
Malena DeMartini is the author of Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs. She even has developed a Separation Anxiety Certification Program. One of her clients, Watson, was an owner surrender who was adopted and lovingly cared for. However, Watson struggled with severe separation anxiety and the family sought out help from Melena. Taking action was a huge step in the right direction and over time, Watson overcame his separation anxiety. You can read all about the obstacles and training that took place to help!
Read more here: The History of a Dog Who Overcame Separation Anxiety.
How To Help Your Dog Deal With You Going Back To Work
It can be hard to go back to work after your pup has become your close office mate after months of working from home. But unfortunately, living the 'new normal' may involve heading back to the office. At the first sign of developing separation anxiety, you must research and contact your vet. We want to provide the best lives for our pets, especially when we aren't there to entertain them. Have you experienced separation anxiety with your dog and have any stories or advice? We'd love to hear about it!