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Reducing Separation Anxiety in Dogs

By July 27, 2020 July 30th, 2020 Helping Animals

separation anxiety in dogs

The Coronavirus lockdown has been a difficult time for us humans, yet in many cases has been great for our dogs. All this time at home has meant they have benefited from lots more special time with us – extra walks, cuddles and attention. The trouble is that separation anxiety is something many dogs are now going to be struggling with as we go back to work and spend less time with them at home.

Our pet dogs are naturally fun-loving creatures that enjoy being with their human family as much as possible. Although they like their own space too, the change in routine can have an adverse effect on them.

What is separation anxiety?

Put simply it is a form of anxiety due to separation from someone you enjoy being with. This can affect people as well as other animals. With dogs, they want to spend time in your company as much as possible.

The symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs can be:

  • Whining, barking and signs of distress when you are out
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Doing toilets in the home
  • Following you around the house
  • General bad behaviour

One thing to note is it’s important not to punish your dog if they have messed or damaged something whilst you have been out of the house. This can actually make the separation anxiety worse.

dog with separation anxiety

Dealing with dog anxiety and reducing anxiety in dogs

Recognising the issue and then reducing anxiety in dogs is important for both you and your dog. No dog is happy to have to deal with it and the fallout is not good for us either.

The good news is there are several ways we can help dogs resume their normal behaviour when we return to work.

Natural remedies for dogs

Thankfully you can buy natural calming tablets for dogs from your vet or online. Dorwest are a leading authority on veterinary herbal medicine and have been producing for over 70 years. On their website you can find a range of natural medicines that can help to calm an anxious dog. What’s great about Dorwest products is that all the ingredients are natural.

large dog on his bed

Separation dog training

There are many things you can do yourself to ensure your dog is more relaxed when you leave the house. Try not making a big fuss when you leave. Just a quick goodbye, see you later will suffice. By making it short you are not allowing it to become a big thing.

If your dog has severe separation anxiety you can set up a camera in your home to monitor how the dog behaves. Then leave the house for a very short time. Begin with a couple of minutes. Go back in but don’t make a big fuss. Do this two or three times a day.

If your dog is ok with this just do the same but increase the time out. Experiment and see what works best for your dog. Their level of separation anxiety will depend on how long this technique will take. Go at your dogs own pace.

Another thing you can do is to do some in-house social distancing between you and your dog. Calmly leave your dog in another room and close the door. Crate them if this helps. Again, just do it for a few minutes and work your way up to an hour or so. This will help them adjust to being on their own but still in the same house as you. They will still be able to hear and smell you but you then have the separation in a reduced form. If your dog really struggles with this perhaps try using a stair gate so they can still see you.

greyhound dog being exercised on beach

Exercise is important

Any responsible person who cares for a dog knows that they need at least one good walk a day – two is preferred. Dogs need to exercise and be stimulated by seeing and smelling things around their environment. When you have a dog who is exercised you have a happy dog. They sleep better, eat better and are generally better behaved.

If you are going to be out at work all day it’s important to get a dog walker in. This will be helpful in reducing the separation anxiety too.

Reiki can be very effective

Natural anxiety relief for dogs can come in many ways and using an animal Reiki practitioner can work wonders. I have seen many times how even distance Reiki can help a dog release all the stresses and anxiety they have been holding. Sometimes just a single session is enough, though I’d recommend a session of at least three to fully clear the anxiety. Book a Reiki session for your dog here >

Using Reiki healing for dogs in conjunction with some of the other techniques mentioned above can really help your dog get through the change without major issues. Perhaps some of you will now be able to work remotely from home or a few days a week. This is wonderful but there will still be times when our dogs are left alone, such as going on a holiday. It’s worth trying some of these tips to reduce anxiety in dogs even if it’s just to prepare for the future.

If you have any tips for dealing with dog anxiety let us know in the comments section below.

9 Comments

  • Ruth Epstein says:

    This is something we were discussing in the dog park the other day what is going to happen when we all go back to work as they have got used to us being at home. I am fortunate as I work mainly from home so am not worried. Great post and I so agree with you punishment is not the solution.

  • I’ve worked mostly from home for years now, so my dogs are very used to me being around a lot. My youngest dog is especially bonded to me and does have a bit of separation anxiety. Luckily, with training, we’ve been able to greatly reduce it. I’ll have to look more into Reiki.

  • I wish I could have tattooed this on the forehead of the neighbours across our back two years ago. Their poor dog turned out to have serious SA and barked all day every day for months (not great if you work from home).

    Suddenly the dog stopped barking and I found out later than he had been moved to the family’s daughter (and the neighbours had begun complaining there…..)

    This is a serious issue and people really need to pay more attention to it. It is so unfair on a dog.

  • Emilia says:

    There are lot of strategies for managing separation anxiety. I think it can be so frustrating to try and crack it while protecting both your dog and your home.

  • We love exercise and natural remedies for anxiety! Will check out Dorwest as that is a line I’m not that familiar with. Surprisingly creating good gut flora is excellent to help soothe a dog’s anxiety – that still surprises me just to say that!

  • Beth says:

    My daughter and her partner got a second dog right before the shutdown. They are concerned about how the pup will do once they are able to go places without the dogs. I’ll share this with her.

  • Britt K says:

    This is a great post. We have been working with Indy on his separation anxiety for some time now. We believe that it originally stemmed from being abandoned (he’s a rescue) as he seemed to be afraid that we would disappear any time we went out of sight. It took a lot of training to get him to the point that he’s at now. He’s not 100%, we still have to take it into consideration and work with him to manage his anxiety on a regular basis, but he’s FAR more comfortable than he once was. The fact that I transitioned a few years ago to working from home fulltime really has helped him (another benefit to making that change).

  • Happyoodles says:

    Separation anxiety is definitely going to be an issue for some dogs when their people go back to work.

  • Very important message for everyone who’s been home during the COVID-19 situation. Even though I’m retired, my cats have really become accustomed to me being home all day.

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