How to Relieve Separation Anxiety in Your Dogs

Almost every pet parent has seen their adored dogs battle with separation anxiety. As flattering as it is that your animals miss you every time you leave their sight, it can be a frustrating ordeal to put up with; barking excessively, pacing back and forth, tearing up the furniture, and going to the bathroom in the house are a few ways dogs handle the panic of their owners’ absence. If your four-legged friends go into emotional distress when you aren’t around, here are a few ways to help relieve their anxiety.

Don’t Make a Big Deal about Goodbyes and Greetings

Lengthy, dramatic goodbyes and greetings send the signal to your canines that your departure is something to get worked up about. If you stay collected and calm, your dogs are more likely to mimic that mood back. It can be tempting to act overly enthusiastic when you open the door and see their tails going a mile a minute, but acting neutral will help assure your pets that your coming and going is no big deal.

Stick to a Schedule

Dogs naturally feel more secure when they are immersed in a routine, so try your best to avoid breaking the habits that they’re used to. Feed them and take them out at the same time every day, and even on days you’re in the house more than usual.Avoid smothering your pets with excessive love and attention; leave home a few times on your days off as well to ensure they stay accustomed to you being absent. When you establish a consistent pattern of leaving in the mornings and coming home in the evenings, your pets will start to learn what to expect and will naturally panic less when you walk out the door.

Wear Them Out

Dogs with pent-up energy are much more likely to carry on with high-strung behaviors than ones who have had a healthy amount of exercise. A quick jog, walk, or game of fetch are all good ways to tire your pets out before you leave. If you don’t have the time to do that before you head to work, consider installing a gate or wireless dog fenceto let your pets run freely while you get ready in the mornings, and do the same when you get back. Exercise is an important part of any dog’s mental and physical well-being, so make sure you’re making that a priority in their routine.

Stimulate Their Minds

Aside from providing your dogs with adequate exercise, it’s necessary to ensure they have proper mental stimulation as well. Bored dogs tend to act out, so supply your pups with chew toys and bones.Chewing is an effective form of stress relief in dogs, and frozen washcloths, long-lasting bones, and toys with treats stuffed in them can keep your houndsfocused while you’re away. There are also many interactive dog toys and puzzles on the market designed to provide extended periods of entertainment, so shop around and explore your options.

While these are all effective ways to deal with mild cases of separation anxiety, severe cases may require more extensive training and/or medication, so contact your vet if the condition worsens. Most dogs outgrow anxious tendencies, and it’s important to stay patient and determined when it comes to helping your pals cope. It can be a discouraging time, but try to keep in mind that you’re the most important thing in your dogs’ lives; all they want is for you to give back some of that love and adoration.

Photo credit: Pippypippy via photopin cc

Ron Rutherford is a freelance writer who enjoys networking with other pet parents and trading tips and advice. When he’s not enjoying nature with his four-legged chums, he writes for Havahart® Wireless, the wireless dog fence provider.

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