Dog Separation Anxiety: What Dog Owners in St. Lucie Need to Know

Separation anxiety can be difficult for both the dog and the pet parent. Recognizing separation anxiety is the first step toward treating your pup and helping them become acclimated to being alone for a while.

There are many ways you can help your dog overcome separation anxiety in St. Lucie, FL. Check out the article below and learn more about dog separation anxiety. Your pup will be happier for it.

dog separation anxiety

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety may be devastating for the pet parent and their dog. You may have had an experience of trying to get ready for work, and your dog does not want to let you go. They become frantic and start jumping up on you and whining. You feel so bad about the situation, but what can you do about it?

When a dog experiences separation anxiety, it means that they have extreme stress and are either upset, anxious or even destructive when you leave them home alone. Symptoms in each dog may vary, but almost every dog with separation anxiety becomes frightened when left alone.

What Are the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety?

There are a plethora of different symptoms in dogs with separation anxiety. Some dogs become depressed, while other pups become destructive.

The following include some of the common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs:

  • Pacing around the house while you are away
  • Excessive whining or barking before you leave
  • Jumping on you in an attempt to block you from leaving
  • Scratching or digging at the door
  • Destructive chewing on items in the house
  • Inappropriate urinating or defecating in the house
  • Refusing to eat or drink when left on their own
  • Harming themselves when trying to escape

What Can I Do to Help My Dog with Separation Anxiety?

Some dogs with separation anxiety have had trauma, such as being abandoned or left in a shelter. However, some dogs have personalities that make them more prone to developing separation anxiety. Overall, there is no definitive reason.

It is essential that when you see signs of separation anxiety in your dog, you intervene and help them right away. It may prevent unwanted behavior and teach your pup that being alone for a while can be an opportunity for fun games, getting some shut-eye, or hanging out in their crate. Teaching your dog to be home alone is no easy task, but it is worth the effort.

There are a variety of ideas you can try to treat your pup’s separation anxiety and help them become comfortable with being alone:

Take Them for a Walk Before Leaving

Prior to leaving the house, take your dog for a walk or if you have time, take them to a recreational area for a game of fetch or frisbee. The exercise will make them feel good, and it will be nice for you to spend quality time with them before you leave. When your pup comes home, they will be tired and most likely curl up in a ball and fall asleep while you are away.

Do Not Make a Dramatic Scene Before You Leave

If you have a routine before leaving the house, your pup will start to understand what you do when you get ready for work in the morning and always get dressed at a particular time. They will catch on, and they could make a fuss during this time. If you usually make a big deal about leaving, so will your dog.

The trick is to make minor modifications in your routine to help decrease their stress before you leave. For example, you can leave your keys in a different place daily. That way, your pup will not have too much anxiety when they see you pick up the keys to go.

Fun Games and Puzzles

Dogs love playing games that stimulate their mind. There are some great games and food puzzles you can get for your dog to keep them occupied while you are gone. Pups enjoy food dispensing puzzles that will not only give them treats but they can have fun with it all day long. You could also fill up a KONG toy with peanut butter and let them have it!

Gradually Build Up Their Confidence

Build up your dog’s acceptance of being alone. Work on their confidence by starting to leave them alone in small increments of time at first, and then gradually leave them alone for long.

Start by leaving them to get coffee, then go to a movie, and finally, leave them alone for a few hours. The point is to gradually increase the time away from your dog until they are comfortable being there without you.

Create a Relaxing Environment

Create a relaxing environment for your pup while you are away. Give them a crate to go into that they can feel safe in. Place a crate liner in the crate. You can use dog travel beds as a crate pad. Put a blanket in there to keep them warm. Toss in some of their favorite toys and give them easy access to a water bowl and some food.

Make their crate a place in which they want to go. Eventually, they will positively associate with the crate and want to use it. The crate will also keep them from exhibiting destructive behaviors while you are gone.

Keep in Touch with a Pet Camera

Sometimes work will take you away from your dog longer than you would like, which is where the pet camera comes into play. Cameras like Petcube Play that has motion detection can let you know when something is amiss with your pup while you are gone.

Also, many cameras feature two-way talk, so you can talk to your dog and calm them down if they are upset. You may even be able to calm them down enough to sleep. The camera will show you that your fur baby is safe and comfortable.

No Punishment!

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that dogs will sometimes make mistakes. For example, if your pup goes potty in the house, do not yell at them. Instead, come up with a feasible solution, such as having someone trustworthy come in and relieve your pup and break up their day. Be patient with your dog; they will learn with time and make you a proud pet parent!

Contact a Veterinarian for More Information On Dog Separation Anxiety

Leaving your dog with separation anxiety is a difficult thing to do. However, there are things you can do to teach your pup that being alone sometimes is okay. Make sure they feel safe and comfortable before your leave. When you get home, give your pup lots of pets and cuddles and let them know you are happy to be reunited with them.

For more information, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, contact Veterinary Medical Center of St. Lucie in St. Lucie, FL by calling (772) 337-8570. Our team of compassionate veterinarians will help guide you and your pet in the best direction and will be there every step of the way.