Understanding Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Puppy in owner's arms

How to reduce separation anxiety in a dog

Dogs and humans have a mysterious bond. Their relationship is both unique and powerful. But often this positive relationship can result in a negative result - in the form of separation anxiety. The encouraging thing is that there are ways a pet owner can reduce their dog's separation anxiety.

This article contains a number of proven tips and techniques to use when your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.

How to recognize separation anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs can be one of the most heartbreaking experiences for the owner. It can also be a time of anxiety and stress. Separation anxiety in our pets can manifest in various forms, including whining, excessive barking and even destruction. It is not unheard of, in severe cases of separation anxiety, for the dog to whine when the owner is in another room of the house.

Why does it happen?

Dogs are pack animals, and when the owner goes to work or shopping, it's as if the pack leaves them. Furthermore, for those owners who have created an unhealthy relationship with their dogs, the dog owns the human. The good news is that by taking certain actions, owners can lower the dog's anxiety level.

Separation anxiety in dogs: Tips for what to do


Run with the dog and you will both reap the benefits. A good run routinely in the morning and evening will help the dog to become more relaxed and allow it to sleep while the owner is away. Exercise also stimulates the dog to new smells, sounds and adventures. This is equivalent to a person sitting in a room all day without stimulation. We get bored and so do they. It is the boredom that manifests itself in unwanted behavior.


Consider when you actually feed the dog. Empty stomachs make for restless dogs. Try to give a big meal before you leave the house. Dogs naturally become sleepy after a large meal. Half the day will have passed before they wake up again from their nap. Leave meat bones and other special treats and toys around the house or kennel.

This will reduce boredom. In many cases, it will also keep the dog occupied while the owner is away.

Quiet departure and return

Experts suggest that owners should avoid the turmoil of leaving and re-entering the home. What seems natural to the dog owner - that is, making a big deal out of the homecoming - is actually the opposite of what should happen. Dogs become more agitated and this increases their own stress.

Background noise

Leaving the radio or television on while you are out of the house will help calm your dog. Dogs often seem alert when there is silence, where outside noise helps to increase their stress level. With a certain level of noise in the home, the external noise is muted and provides a source of company.

Small room

Often a dog will feel safer in a smaller room. Soft, familiar bedding and toys provide a calming sensation for a dog suffering from separation anxiety.


If possible, get another dog. This can - but not always - provide company, entertainment and a calming effect.

For any dog owner who has experienced the consequences of dogs with separation anxiety, it can be a stressful and frustrating time. There are a number of actions that can be taken to reduce the dog's anxiety. Often, what seems natural to the dog's owner in relation to separation anxiety can help make the problem even worse. Implementation and uniformity of approach are decisive factors for success when overcoming the dog's separation anxiety.


Products that can help with separation anxiety



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