How Busy Dog Parents Can Protect Their Dogs from Separation Anxiety Help your dog deal with separation anxiety effectively no matter how busy you are or how often youโ€™re away from home

How Busy Dog Parents Can Protect Their Dogs from Separation Anxiety

Given how social dogs are, they tend to struggle with separation anxiety occasionally. This problem becomes more apparent if youโ€™re a busy dog parent frequently away from home. With the right strategies in place, however, you can protect your canine pal from separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety in dogs is a prevalent issue that affects many pets when they are left alone. Both young and senior dogs tend to exhibit anxiety and behavior problems during stressful situations, especially when left home alone.   

According to Dr. Michael Kearley, DVM, this condition can lead to a range of destructive behaviors and stress. That, in turn, can cause distress to the pooch and its owners. Understanding a dog’s symptoms of anxiety becomes vital in this case. Recognizing and addressing the signs of dog anxiety is crucial for maintaining a happy and healthy relationship with your pet. 

Here are a few effective ways busy dog owners can protect their dogs from separation anxiety.

Establish a Consistent Routine

As told by veterinarian Dr. Lorna Whittemore, MRCVS, most dogs tend to thrive on predictability. Your dog too might enjoy it, so a consistent routine can help in dealing with chronic anxiety in your pooch. 

Hence, what you can do is set regular times for feeding your dog, as well as for play. You might also consider walking with your pup regularly at a dog park. Doing these small but engaging activities will help you create a sense of security for your dog. 

When you maintain a consistent schedule, it helps your anxious dog understand that they can rely on you returning home at specific times. As they realize that, dogs immediately feel their stress levels coming down. 

Now, make sure that your routine includes ample time for physical activities with your pooch. Engaging in physical activities is crucial in mitigating dog anxiety by burning off excess energy and promoting relaxation. 

Besides, spending time with your dogs at home is also vital in helping them avoid getting stressed. 

Create a Safe and Comfortable Space

When dogs experience anxiety, they look for a safe and comfortable space to retreat to. You’ll want to provide this safe and comfortable space for your dog when you're not around. A dedicated safe space for your pup can help it feel more secure.

The safe space in question can be anything, like a cozy corner with your dog’s favorite bed and toys. To include a bit of yourself in the mix, you can also include a piece of your clothing that carries your scent. For anxious dogs, familiar smells can be incredibly calming, acting as a reassuring reminder of their owner. 

Make sure the dog bed you opt for is super comfy, something like the Midwest Quiet Time Natural Fleece Pet Bed. Made using ultra-soft synthetic fur, this dog bed offers a cozy and warm resting place for your pooch. The comfort it provides is ideal for helping your dog’s anxiety disorder.

You might also consider using a crate if your dog is crate-trained. The iCrate with Divider Panel is a good option here. Apart from providing comfort, this crate is also ideal for crate training your dog. Many dogs find such crates to be a secure den-like environment that helps reduce anxiety. Getting a crate might help your pooch deal with the same anxiety issues.

Gradual Desensitization and Training

Gradual desensitization is a technique used for treating anxiety by slowly getting your dog habitual to staying alone. 

Start by leaving your dog alone for short durations and gradually extend the timelines as they become more comfortable with the process. You can pair your departures with positive experiences, like giving it treats or a favorite toy. Over time, your dog will begin to associate being alone with positive outcomes, reducing its separation anxiety.

The Kong Classic Dog Toy is easily the best pick for such type of training. Your pup can play around with it and it also has holes for hiding treats. That should make playtime more interactive and engaging for your dog. 

Utilize Puzzle Toys and Interactive Feeders

Engaging your dog with puzzle toys and interactive feeders can be a great way to keep its mind occupied while you're away. These toys and puzzles provide mental stimulation, which is crucial for an anxious dog. 

You could try the ZippyPaws Zippy Burrow Easter Basket Puzzle Dog Toy. Your pooch can dig out the eggs from this basket and put them back in. This can help your dog stay busy and less anxious while you’re away. 

Consider Natural Remedies and Supplements

There are various natural remedies and supplements available that can help treat anxiety in dogs. Products containing calming ingredients like chamomile, valerian root, and L-theanine can be effective in reducing stress levels.

Chamomile and valerian roots have natural sedative properties that soothe the nervous system, while L-theanine promotes relaxation by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels. These ingredients collectively help alleviate anxiety and foster a sense of calm. 

Besides, pheromone diffusers, which mimic the calming pheromones produced by nursing mothers, can create a soothing environment for your dog. However, before starting any new supplement regimen, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian to ensure the appropriateness of your dog’s anxiety.

Getting Help from Professional Dog Trainers and Behaviorists

Your dog’s anxiety disorder might reach a severe situation, and if it does, seeking help from professional dog trainers or behaviorists becomes necessary. These behavior experts can take a boog look at your dog’s specific anxiety problems and then craft a tailored plan to address the issues. 

Using a combination of training techniques and behavioral modification strategies, these professionals can help dogs cope with separation anxiety more effectively. At the same time, you can expect these professionals to provide valuable guidance on managing anxiety and preventing the recurrence of destructive behaviors.

Regular Exercise and Socialization

For dogs, it is a must to engage in regular physical exercise to manage anxiety. Therefore, you must take measures to ensure that your dog gets plenty of physical activity through daily walks, playtime, and interactive games. 

When they exercise, dogs end up releasing pent-up energy. Exercising also promotes the production of endorphins in your dogs, which are natural mood enhancers.

Like exercise, socialization is equally important for dogs as it can expose them to different environments, people, and other canines. Such levels of socialization, in turn, can help dogs become more adaptable and less anxious. 

Learning to Recognize and Address the Signs of Anxiety

If you want to ensure an early intervention, you must first learn to recognize the signs of anxiety in your dog. Common signs of dog anxiety include the following:

  • Excessive barking

  • Whining

  • Pacing

  • Drooling

  • Violent behaviors like chewing furniture or scratching doors

The moment you notice any of these behaviors, understand that it’s time to address the underlying anxiety issues promptly. 

Through early recognition and proactive measures, you can prevent the escalation of separation anxiety and prevent your dog from getting too stressed.

In summary, if you’re a dog owner having to deal with separation anxiety in dogs, we understand how challenging it can get for you. Things will, for sure, get more difficult if you’re busy all day or away from home. 

However, by understanding the root causes of your dog’s anxiety and implementing these strategies, you can effectively help your dog cope with being alone. 

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