• Larissa Davies

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety?

A few years ago when I got my akita, he used to come with me everywhere..to work, to the horses, visiting friends and family. Then my circumstances changed which meant he had to be at home while I worked. I remember coming home to the bin emptied all over the house, my sofa shredded, urine everywhere and even my doors taken off the hinges from him charging at them! It was really frustrating but I couldn't tell him off, he didn't know why I was cross. He suffered with severe separation anxiety which was not his fault.

There is no evidence to say that other canine company relieves them, however..whenever he was left with my parents dog, he didn't demolish the house at all! Every dog is different and their experience of being left differs and can be triggered by different things.

Separation anxiety is when the dog fears being alone to the point they get severely stressed or distressed. Some dogs suffer greatly and they can become destructive to themselves and their surroundings when left alone, while others could become depressed and quiet which gives owners no signal to their anxiety so us humans are completely unaware. Dogs are not naturally programmed to being left alone.

Rescue dogs and puppies are very susceptible to having some symptoms of separation anxiety. You are a new person, in a new environment and you may not know the full background of their past. Get started quickly with helping them to have their safe happy place. Start off by going to the toilet and leaving them, build the time up slowly.

The anxiety of being left alone can become so great that it can lead to poor health, self harm and obsessive worrying. They link the routines leading up to when you leave and start to become anxious. The first 15 minutes are the worst for them!

Below I have listed some tips I have used for my own dog and my clients dogs which have been very successful in managing this anxiety in our dearly loved pets:

-Change up the routine a bit. If you put on a certain channel or radio station before you leave, change it. You may think it helps them to feel like they have company but this could be a trigger!

-Find a safe place for them..their favourite blanket, their bed, a room they tend to go in. Spend time with them here, play with them in that special place. Slowly work with them to move away for short periods of time. Praise them if they have remained calm when you watch them round the corner of the door. Slowly increase the time. Kong's are a great stress reliever and entertainer.

-Give them a walk before you leave so they have burnt off some energy and have had your time!

-When leaving and coming home, don't make a big fuss over them, it'll make a big deal out of it and they'll link it with you being absent.

-Dog camera's are fantastic and becoming very popular. You simply download the app and can check in at any point to see what they are doing.

-Have a friend, family member or dog walker/sitter go in to play with them, give them some company and take them for a walk. If you are at work all day, it's a long day for your pet to be left and they may need the toilet! It's a great way to break up their day and burn off some of their energy.

-Rescue or flower remedies could also be an option however I would advise you seek vetinary advise and do lots of research first! This would be a last resort option and as long as you can eliminate the triggers such as normal routine and find them their happy place and continue to work at it, this may not be needed.

For more information, any questions or to find out more about symptoms and help in dealing with separation anxiety, don't hesitate to contact me via my website or email: muddypawsdorset@hotmail.com

Thanks for reading x



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