Although behavioural disorders are primarily associated with pets adopted from shelters, they can actually affect any pet, including those bought from a licensed kennel. Separation anxiety in dogs is one of the most common problems pet guardians report to behaviourists. It can have many causes and manifest itself in different ways, but always requires a prompt response from the owner. Buying the right dog bed, accessory toys – this is just the beginning, a change in daily routine and training is also necessary. Find out what separation anxiety actually is and how to combat it!
Table of contents
- A shaken sense of security
- What is separation anxiety?
- Ways to reduce separation anxiety
- Bedding, toys and other gadgets to help with separation anxiety
- Take care of your canine friend
A shaken sense of security
How pets react to different situations depends largely on their self-confidence. Separation anxiety is very often the result of a shaky sense of security, when the dog feels confident only in the company of its owner. This is very often the case with adopted pets, those who have been harmed in the past, but also those who have previously spent too much time with their guardian. Separation anxiety became a real scourge after the coronavirus pandemic, when, due to lockdown, pets were often in the company of their owners around the clock.
What is separation anxiety?
Some animals tend to become overly attached to their caregivers. Separation anxiety is a behavioural syndrome that occurs in dogs that, when left alone, cannot control their emotions – lack of self-confidence and caregiver support make the pets react inappropriately to the situation and feel a strong sense of fear. It is worth emphasising that this is not a disease, but only a behavioural and psychological problem, but can become a direct cause of deterioration. The most common symptoms of separation anxiety are:
- destroying furniture and objects,
- vocalising (barking, howling, whining),
- defecating in the house,
- restlessness manifested by pacing around the room, panting, drooling,
- scratching doors and windows leading to self-harm.
Ways to reduce separation anxiety
To deal with such a serious behavioural problem, it is essential to consult an experienced behaviourist who will assess your pet’s behaviour and plan individual therapy. Separation anxiety is a serious behavioural disorder that should be prevented in the first place and reacted to immediately when it appears! What can you do when your dog has a problem with staying home alone? First of all:
- set a routine: if you leave and return at the same time every day, your pet will get used to it more easily,
- don’t say an emotional goodbye to your dog when you leave the house – he will think something bad is happening!
- create a safe space in your home for your pet to rest and relax,
- keep your pet occupied – give them a chew, snackball, sniffing mat before you leave.
Bedding, toys and other gadgets to help with separation anxiety
In order to give your pet confidence, it is important to create the right environment where they feel safe. A bed should be a refuge for your dog, a place of calm and a space where he hides when he feels threatened or frightened. If your pet is struggling with separation anxiety, you will need to provide a cosy bed – preferably with high edges or in the form of a soft kennel. It should be set up in a secluded, quiet place. You can put in your pet’s favourite toy or chew (plain or filled with treats) to keep your dog occupied while you are away.
Take care of your canine friend
Caring for your four-legged dog is not only about meeting its basic needs – feeding it, taking it out for walks – but also about caring for its psyche. Separation anxiety in a dog may be the result of difficult past experiences or upbringing mistakes made by the carers – in either case, therapy needs to be introduced. At Rexproduct, you will find unique dog beds to create a safe haven for your pet at home, as well as toys and chews to distract him when he is alone. Check out how we can support you and your canine friend!