Garston Vets’ tips on reducing separation anxiety in dogs
September 14, 2021
With the end of the summer holidays combining with more people returning to work, many dogs are going to miss the extra attention and companionship they’ve enjoyed. Suddenly they’re alone and this change can create a lot of stress.
To help ease the transition, the Garston Veterinary Group team would like to suggest their 6 top tips tips on reducing separation anxiety in dogs. Read them then talk to us if you’d like more information on any of our advice. Also, if you have any tips, please do share them on our Facebook page as it would be great to hear what works for you.
Our top six tips on reducing separation anxiety in dogs:
Watch for the signs – If your dog has separation anxiety, you (or your neighbours) may observe one or more of the following:
- Barking and howling whilst you are out – neighbours will often tell you
- Destructive behaviour – chewing household objects or generally making a mess
- Toileting inside – urinating and defecating in the home
- Panting and shaking – restless, stressed and anxious behaviour
If you see any of these behaviours, consider the following:
- Walk your dog before going out – If your dog has been exercised, they’re more likely to rest and relax once left alone.
- Leave your dog some enrichment activity – Giving your dog a food or other enrichment puzzle can give them something to do, to distract them as you leave.
- Don’t make a fuss when you leave – Avoid touching, talking and eye contact when you depart and return. This way your dog won’t see your comings and goings as a big deal.
- Stay calm at all times – Be an assertive pack leader, so your dog feels reassured. If your dog has been naughty while you’re out, don’t get angry.
- Ignore your dog – On arriving home, ignore your dog and behave calmly, until they also become relaxed and calm themselves. This shows that you, the pack leader, are not stressed and will not react to their attention-seeking behaviour.
- Use a pheromone diffuser – A dog-appeasing pheromone diffuser (often known as a DAP diffuser) can be plugged in around the house to help calm your dog naturally. If you’d like to know more, ask our head nurse Sarah or anyone else in our team.
If you’re struggling to get the results you want, remember that we’re always here to help. Just pop into our practice or give us a call on 01373 452225, and we’ll see how we can help.