Stress and anxiety in Dogs: Symptoms, Training, & Treatment


Is your dog destroying everything in the home once you leave? Your pet might be struggling with separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety in dogs is comparatively common, as numerous dogs do not like to become left in your own home alone. But many dogs could be trained that it's okay to be home alone. Some might even believe it is the good thing of the day.

This article can help you understand why your pet is struggling with stress and anxiety and how you can help relieve that anxiety.

Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

There are lots of reasons that your dog could have developed separation anxiety.

Many times, this starts when you first get the new dog, and with some time and training, you are able to teach your pet that it's okay to be left alone.

While there is no evidence, it's thought that the loss of a person who was important to a dog may cause stress and anxiety.

This is among the most typical reasons that the dog could be struggling with stress and anxiety.

Change in Lifestyle

  • Change of owner or family: Being abandoned in a shelter after which taken to a new family can cause separation anxiety. These dogs may fear being sent back to the shelter.
  • Change in routine: If you suddenly improve your schedule, and your dog has become being left alone for long amounts of time or during different times of your day, it may trigger stress and anxiety. This is seen when individuals who change jobs or move from working at home a great deal to now in the office a lot.
  • Change in residence: Moving to a new house can cause your dog to possess stress and anxiety when you’re gone from your new home.
  • Change in individuals the house: suddenly, losing a relative in the home can cause separation anxiety. This could happen if a person dies or perhaps a kid moves off to college.

Medical Problems

  • Urinary incontinence: Your dog might be urinating in the home since they're incontinent. This can be a medical problem where your dog cannot fully control their bladder and could leak some urine. Most dogs don't know that they have leaked any urine and commonly do that when they are asleep and fully relaxed.
  • Other health conditions: Many other medical issues could be causing your dog to pee and poop in the house. Conditions for example uti, an inadequate sphincter from senior years, hormone-related problems after being spayed, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, Cushing's disease, some neurological problems, and other abnormalities of the genitalia can all cause your pet to urinate in the home.
  • Medications: If your dog takes medication, this could lead them to urinate or defecate in the house. If these accidents are being caused by medication, they'll quickly resolve whenever your dog stops medicines.

Before starting any behavior or medication, have a veterinarian eliminate a medical issue.

Other Behavior Problems

It could be very difficult to know if your dog has separation anxiety. Some behavioral problems can be really similar to separation anxiety.

It is essential to eliminate these behavioral issues first:

  • Submissive or excitement urination: Your pet may urinate once they invite you in, are playing, when excited, or when being punished. These dogs will show a submissive posture, for example holding their tail very low, keeping their ear back flat against their scalp, crouching or rolling over and showing you their belly.
  • Not completely house trained: In case your dog occasionally urinates in the home, they may 't be completely house trained. Their property training might have been inconsistent, or they've already been afraid to urinate if the owner is watching.
  • Urine marking: Your dog may be urinating in the house because they are marking their territory. These dogs usually mark on vertical surfaces. This is most commonly observed in male dogs who raise their legs to urinate. Usually, neutering these dogs will help stop this unwanted behavior.
  • Juvenile destruction: In case your dog is young, they may be more destructive and can chew and dig at things while people are home or away.
  • Boredom: If your pet is bored, they'll become destructive. Most dogs take some type of mental stimulation and will also be destructive should they have absolutely nothing to do when left alone.
  • Excessive barking or howling: Your pet may be barking or howling at unfamiliar sounds. They'll bark and howl when you're home or when you're away.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress and anxiety in Dogs

Some many signs and symptoms would indicate that your dog has stress and anxiety. Included in this are:

  • Urinating and defecating: Your dog may urinate or defecate when they are left alone or separated from you.
  • Barking and howling: If your dog has stress and anxiety, they may bark or howl whenever you let them be.
  • Chewing, digging, and destruction: Your dog may be chewing on things such as the door frames or windowsills. They may be digging in the doorways or even destroy things in the house when you're gone. These behaviors may cause harm too. They are able to break their teeth, cut or scratch their paws and legs or break a toenail.
  • Escaping: If your dog has separation anxiety, they might hightail it when they're left alone. They'll dig under fences and try to break through doors and windows. They can cause a large amount of self-harm with one of these behaviors.
  • Pacing: Your pet might be pacing when you leave them. They will probably move on a specific bath constantly whenever you leave them.
  • Coprophagy (eating poop): Whenever your dog remains alone, they may poop in the home and then immediately eat their very own poop.

All of those behaviors are just done with people are away. These behaviors stop once the owners are home.

How to assist in treating Your canine's Separation Anxiety

Depending on what causes your dog's separation anxiety and how severe it is, there are various ways that you can help them.

Treatment/Training for Mild Separation Anxiety in Dogs

If your pet has only very mild separation anxiety, counter-conditioning might solve the issue. Counter-conditioning is evolving your dog's fearful, anxious, or aggressive reaction to a far more pleasant, relaxed one instead.

This is done by associating the point that they do not like with something they love. After a little while, your dog will quickly associate being alone with something good like a treat.

To make use of this kind of connection to your pet, it is best to use something similar to a treat. Any time you leave your house, give your dog this treat.

A positive thing to try is really a KONG toy full of peanut butter. It will take them 20 to 30 minutes to finish this treat. You may also freeze the peanut butter within the KONG in order that it will take longer for them to have it from the toy.

As soon as you get home, make sure to go ahead and take toy from them so they only associate getting this when you are gone.

Training/Treatment for Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety

If your pet has moderate or severe cases of separation anxiety, it will require a more complex training method. In these instances, you'll have to get the dog used to you being gone gradually.

You may wish to leave your home and just be gone for some seconds then return inside. Gradually leave your house for any bit more time each time until your pet gets used to you being gone for long periods of time. This could take weeks or perhaps months to be able to do fully.

These are steps that you could decide to try get the dog used to you leaving gradually.

Step One

Some dogs will feel anxious when you’re about to leave. They know you’re wearing your shoes, brushing your teeth or fixing your hair implies that you are about to leave. They'll start doing things like pacing throughout the house.

You can educate your pet that whenever you do these things, it doesn't mean that you're going to leave.

Do these behaviors many times a day. Pick up the keys, you should get some coat and shoes, and sit down while dining or watch TV.

After a while, your pet will understand that these cues do not necessarily imply that you're going to leave. It might take several weeks or months for your dog to no more become anxious when you’re on the point of leave.

Step Two

If your pet is anxious when you’re getting ready just whenever you go out, you will want to begin with short trips to help desensitize your pet.

When training your dog, plan for you to definitely go away shorter than the time it takes for your dog to get upset.

To start, train your pet to sit and remain while you undergo a bedroom door and close the doorway. Teach your pet to sit down or lie down on the other hand of the door.

Slowly boost the period of time waiting on the other hand from the door, out of your dog's sight. You may also you should get some coat and shoes after which go into the bathroom while your dog sits on the other side from the door.

  • Once your pet is used for this on the bedroom door, change to using an outside door. Begin with the rear door then transition towards the door.
  • By this time around, you can spend a short time from your door. Begin with only a few seconds and then slowly increase the time that you’re gone. When you have reached a few minutes, you can begin giving your dog a food stuffed toy just before you depart.
  • Once your pet has a toy, wait for Five to ten minutes before coming back inside. Before you leave again, make sure that your dog is completely calm and relaxed. IF you leave immediately, they will be anxious from the before that you simply left and can make their anxiety a whole lot worse.
  • Remember to be really calm and quiet when you are heading out and arriving. This will lower the difference from the time you're there and when you're gone.
  • You will have to decide whenever your dog is ready for more time. Each dog is different, monitor how they are acting, so when your pet appears like they can handle you being gone for longer periods of time, extend the time that you're gone.
  • It will require a long time to develop to being gone for 40 minutes. Most dog's anxiety because of your absence will happen during the first 40 minutes. Once your dog hits the 40-minute mark, you can increase your increments by 5 to fifteen minutes every time. Once your dog can handle you being opting for 1 hour 30 minutes, they can tolerate 4 to 8 hours.
  • This whole course of treatment could be completed in just a few weeks if you can dedicate multiple sessions each day as well as the weekend. Truly, this may take a month for the dog to be okay with you being gone.

Not only should you be gradually teaching your dog that you simply not being home is okay, but additionally you have to keep all hellos and goodbyes calm. Whenever you leave or get home, just leave your dog along until they are calm and relaxed.

A easy way enable them to become calm is to ask them to perform learned commands such as sit and remain.

Crate Training Can be Helpful to Reduce Separation Anxiety

Crate training can be very good for some dogs.

Your dog will become familiar with that the crate is a superb place for them to go when they are left alone.

However, crates can cause more stress and anxiety in certain dogs. Monitor your pet whenever you put them in their crate to see if you should use the crate or otherwise.

If your dog begins to show any signs of distress for example heavy panting, salivating, attempting to escape, howling or barking, then crating may not be a great fit for the particular dog. Another option is you can attempt to confine these to a room behind a baby gate.

Exercise to assist With Separation Anxiety

If your dog suffers from stress and anxiety, it’s best to provide them lots of mental and physical stimulation. They are vital in treating many behavior problems, especially stress and anxiety.

Make certain you exercise both your canine's mind and body. This can greatly enrich their life and reduce stress. It will help offer an appropriate outlet for normal behavior.

All this exercise can cause your pet to become both physically and mentally tired. A tired dog doesn't have any extra energy to spend when they're left alone to destroy the home.

To help to keep your pet busy and happy, they are things that you can test:

  • Let your pet have about Half an hour of exercise. Take them for any run or a swim every day. If at all possible, attempt to do these activities before you have to leave your pet alone. This helps them relax and rest when you’re gone.
  • Play fun and interactive games with your dog, such as fetch or tug-of-war. Tug-of-war is a good indoor game that you could play each morning, particularly if the weather isn’t ideal for outside play.
  • Take your pet for any walk every single day. Go on a different route around your neighborhood or take them a new location so that they can smell new smells and have different sights.
  • Let your pet have fun with other dogs or go to a dog park so your dog may have off-leash time that they can devote to some friends.
  • Give your pet a puzzle toy. Many of these toys use food or perhaps a treat as a reward. You can even provide your dog their meals with such puzzle toys. You can even stuff them peanut butter, cheese, or yogurt.
  • Give your pet many different things to chew on. Puzzle toys and chew sticks encourage chewing as well as licking, which has been proven to have a calming effect on many dogs. Monitor all of them with these things prior to leaving them alone to make certain that there is nothing that can hurt them.
  • Hide your canine's food in different locations around your house or back yard. This way, they'll spend some time throughout the day looking for food and never destroying your house.
  • Enroll your dog in training classes. This can be a fantastic way to mentally and physically stimulate your dog. You can use many of the tricks and tips to assist decrease your dog stress and anxiety.
  • Get your pet involved with agility, or dock diving. These are great sport to keep them physically active.

Will Medications Help My Dog’s Separation Anxiety?

Before starting any medication or supplement, ask the vet, they are fully aware your canine's other health problems and may help you figure out which one is perfect for them to take.

Using medication to assist your pet with separation anxiety can be quite helpful, especially in severe cases. Some dogs are extremely upset that you have left them alone the only way to help them cope is with medication. Medication can help result in the treatment/training process quicker too.

In rare cases, some dogs with mild stress and anxiety can greatly take advantage of medication alone with no behavioral training or modification.

Once your pet is becoming accustomed to staying at home alone, you can slowly wean them from the medication. Some dogs, however, will require both medication and training.

Not Leaving Your Dog Alone

While never leaving your pet alone isn't necessarily a choice, there are lots of things that you can do to avoid them from having stress and anxiety. These are some good options that you can try to avoid leaving your pet at home alone.

  • See if you can take your dog to work with you. Some offices are fine having a dog visiting work, but generally, it’s not a logistical possibility.
  • Have a buddy or family member come stay with your dog when you’re not there. You can even hire a dog sitter to come when you are not around. Most dogs with separation anxiety are fine when there is someone home – even when it is not you.
  • Bring your pet to a dog sitter's house or to doggy daycare.
  • If you’re a weight quick errand, your pet may be able to just stay in the vehicle. Only do that when the weather conditions are nice. NEVER leave your dog alone in a hot car. Your dog left inside a hot car can easily diet of heatstroke.

Many times, after you have trained your dog that it is okay to become left alone, providing have to bring them with you.

What To avoid for Dog's with Separation Anxiety

If your pet has separation anxiety, do not punish or scold them. These anxious behaviors aren't since they're disobedient or spiteful. They are a distress response.

Your dog displays anxious behaviors when they are left alone since they're upset and trying to cope with a lot of stress. Should you punish them, they may become even more upset, causing the problem to become even worse.

Final Ideas on Stress and anxiety in Dogs

There are many reasons that the dog may be suffering from stress and anxiety. Figuring out what's triggering these responses and trying to fix any underlying conditions.

If the anxiety is a result of behavior, your dog can easily be educated to remain calm.

It may take a lot of time and patience, but stress and anxiety in dogs can be improved and if you stick to it, your dog will become familiar with that you are going in the future home and that they is going to be okay.