Separation Anxiety in Dogs – Causes and Solutions

Last Updated: 12 months ago

It is very unfortunate how many dogs suffer from separation anxiety.

There are many reasons why dogs suffer from the malady.

The results of separation anxiety can be devastating to your home and even result in injuries or health issues for your dog. Here are some things you should know about this condition and what it means for your dog.

Destruction Of Household

Destruction Of Household

One of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety is chewing up items around the home. Pillows, upholstery, curtains, children’s toys, shoes, and other items often are seen as an outlet for anxiety and nervousness.

A dog tearing up the carpet can lead to very expensive repair bills to your home. If you rent, you may have to completely forfeit any damage deposit you have paid. If the damage deposit is not enough to pay for the repairs, then you may be asked to make up the difference.

Boredom Is A Likely Culprit

Boredom Is A Likely Culprit

Think about how you feel if bored. Dogs are active and intelligent beings as well. They need to have an outlet for their energy.

By providing engaging toys you can alleviate boredom. Those with two dogs are less likely to have a bored dog because they can play with one another.

Indoor dogs in particular are prone to separation anxiety resulting from boredom. Being the owner of an energetic breed can be very challenging if you live in a smaller space.

It is important to consider what breed of dog you get if you know that you won’t have room for them to exert themselves.

If your dog is bored, you may consider dropping them off at a friend’s house that has a dog and picking them up at the end of the day. Sometimes some toys are enough for some dogs.



If your dog is entirely alone they may be more prone to separation anxiety. Households with more than one dog are less likely to have one that suffers from separation related stress and behaviors.

Some pet owners actually have resorted to dog day cares or sitters for during the day or if they are going to be away for very long. Having another dog to play with works wonders.

You can leave a television on tuned to one of the newer stations that broadcast entertainment for dogs that are home alone.

Technology and the belief that dogs are such important parts of the average home have led to some great entertainment solutions that are accessible to everyone with a television.

Excessive Barking and Whining

Excessive Barking and Whining

While you may not be at home to observe it, your neighbors or other family members may not be so thrilled about your dog barking excessively every time you leave. The closer you live to others, the more of a problem this becomes.

There is also the fact that it is not good for your dog to always be so emotionally distressed and unhappy. Using severe methods such as a shock collar when you are leaving the house can just make a dog more nervous.

Providing distractions such as toys can alleviate anxiety barking according to The Daily Puppy. Young puppies frequently use barking and whining as a coping mechanism when separated from their mother or you.


malamute escaping

Even if you have a nice fenced area for your dog, that doesn’t mean that they are not capable of suffering from separation anxiety. Dogs can dig under fences, chew through barriers, and use other destructive and sneaky means to escape and try to find you.

Escaping can lead to injury to your dog or other people and animals according to Pet MD. If your big dog gets loose and kills someone’s backyard chickens or similar than you are going to be liable and it won’t go far towards neighborly relations.

Urinating and Pooping In The House

Urinating and Pooping In The House

Sometimes dog owners are amazed that their well-trained dog all of a sudden starts using the bathroom in the house when they leave regardless of the fact that they were let out shortly before.

When dogs are stressed they can behave irrationally not unlike people when they are experiencing a lot of stressors.

If your dog only does this when you leave, then it is likely that separation anxiety is the real cause of the problem and must be addressed if you want to stop the behavior in its tracks.

Nervous Scratching and Chewing On Self

Nervous Scratching and Chewing On Self

Some dogs may develop nervous actions such as scratching themselves aggressively and “fleaing” or chewing on their fur.

This type of behavior needs to be addressed immediately because skin issues can quickly become more serious.

Severe Cases Sometimes Lead To Medication

Severe Cases Sometimes Lead To Medication

No one wants to have to medicate their dog unnecessarily but in extreme cases of separation anxiety it may be the solution.

Sometimes temporarily medicating a dog while implementing other coping mechanisms such as toys, can offer total relief of symptoms. Constant medication is not always necessary for great results.

More Solutions

Taking your dog for a walk before you leave can help them exert some energy and spend some quality time with you according to the experts at Caesar’s Way.

This can make them less likely to be as upset when you have to leave for the day. Getting some exercise is good for you as well and helps ensure that you don’t get too busy for your dog.

Starting slow with the amount of time you leave a dog alone can help as well. For example, you may only leave your dog alone for 10 minutes the first time and then increase the time increments gradually.

This helps introduce the concept that although are going to be away, you will return to them.

Patience is a very important thing to maintain with any dog suffering from a nervous condition. It is better to step away for a moment than to yell at your dog or use harsh punishments. Even one instance can make it much harder to cure your pet.

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