6 Tips to Soothe Separation Anxiety

So, you just came home after a long workday. You’re not even at your front door yet, but you can already hear non-stop barking and howling from your dog. Even worse, you have a neighbor giving you the dreaded “your dog wouldn’t shut up all day” scowl. Then to top it all off, you walk in your house and find scratch marks on the door, shredded pillows, torn shoes, a chewed TV remote… and a dog that’s really happy you’re home.

For people that have dogs with separation anxiety, that’s not just a worst-case scenario. That’s practically a daily routine, and a difficult one at that. Sure, the cleanup can be a nightmare, but the real difficulty stems from knowing how much our loving canine companions struggle without us. That’s why we’re here with six tips to help your pup enjoy their “me-time” again.

1. Exercise Your Dog

One of the best ways to reduce separation anxiety is to dedicate 30 minutes to give your dog some exercise. By doing so, you’ll not only keep them physically fit, but you’ll also tire them out and work up their appetite. Then, when it’s time to leave, your dog will be more concerned about food and napping than where you’re going. In other words, this helps your pup associate their time alone as an opportunity to rest, relax, and feast like royalty.

2. Get a Calming Supplement

It might take more than a long nap and a full belly to keep separation anxiety at bay. That’s why we recommend picking up a natural calming supplement that can help Fido feel more calm, cool, and collected while you’re away. We suggest looking for products with Melatonin, Hemp, Valerian Root, and L-Theanine to make sure your pup gets the most holistic and effective ingredients possible to keep them at ease when you leave.

3. Change How You Prepare to Leave

Your dog knows you like the back of their paw. Whether it’s from your work uniform, your morning alarm, or the jingling of your keys, you’re getting that sad “I know you’re leaving” face for a reason. So, why not try tweaking some of your habits? For example, instead of grabbing your keys and bee-lining for the door, take your keys and go sit on the couch for a few minutes. This, along with other small changes to your patterns can break negative associations that cause dread from your loving (and highly observant) canine companion.

4. Don’t Make Leaving a Big Deal

It’s not uncommon to feel guilty when your dog knows you’re leaving soon. But, that can lead to sorrowful goodbye ceremonies with apologies, kisses, and consoling – all while using your sad “I’m so sowwy” voice. Oh, you know the voice we're talking about! Thing is, this can actually perpetuate separation anxiety by conditioning dogs to associate your departure as a sad experience. So instead, say goodbye with cheerful energy, a big smile, and even a belly rub to leave on a higher note!



5. Practice Separation During Off-Days

There’s nothing like enjoying a hard-earned day off with your dog by your side. But, try to take advantage of that time with some periodic separation training. Start by spending 10-20 minutes in another room with the door closed to help your dog become more comfortable with space apart. Next, practice walking in and out of the front door for a few minutes, while gradually increasing the intervals so that leaving and returning will become more ordinary and manageable for your pup.

6. Give Them a New Furry Friend

If you’ve ever taken Fido to a dog park, or let them play with a friend’s dog, you probably saw a different (and fun) side of your pup. So, when it comes to their separation anxiety, bringing home another dog can help yours feel a lot happier when you’re out for work, shopping, or a fun night out. Whether you go with a breeder or the adoption route, we're sure your doggy would love having a new brother or sister to keep them company while you’re away.

 

We hope these tips will come in handy for pet parents that want to help their dogs overcome separation anxiety, but there are plenty of other great methods that are worth trying as well. Just be sure to consult a veterinarian for more information about your pet's specific temperament. 

If you have any comments, tips of your own, or questions about nature-inspired calming supplements, tell us below! You can also reach out to us at (800)-940-1972 or bark@zestypaws.com.


8 comments

  • I have a 9 month old male Australian shepard who is deaf, and a 7 yr old female ausie, and a 4 yr old male aussie. Im looking for some tips for my puppy Shadow, who is deaf, that has some challenges.
    Thank you for any advice.
    Sincerely,Dayna.

    Dayna
  • Hello, Linda! What an amazing thing you have done for your 14-year-old rescue. Almost all breeds of pets, like most humans, are very social creatures and can be comforted by having a friend to spend time with while their human companions are gone. We hope that your pups learn to love each other and your Yorkie can help the older pup with their anxiety. We might have a few other suggestions as well if you want to reach out to us directly!

    Zesty Paws
  • I just acquired a new YORKIE. She is six years old and weighs six lbs. I have a 14 year old rescue who suffers from separation anxiety. I’ve been leaving her with a friend when I have to travel or go to work. I’m anxious to see if having this new friend will calm her.

    Linda

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