Since dogs are by nature a social animal and live in packs, leaving them alone for long periods-of-time goes against their natural instincts.
Dogs that are hyper-attached to their pet parents or are rarely left alone, may also exhibit signs of separation anxiety when suddenly thrust into a solitary situation.
Knowing your canine companion has separation anxiety is only half the battle. Here are some tips on how to beat your dog’s separation anxiety that may have her enjoying her time alone.
Alone Time Tip # 1: Limit Your Time Away
As a general rule-of-paw, dogs should never be left alone for longer than eight hours at a time. This is paramount to your pooch’s health and in recognition of this, some countries have actually made a law stating that dogs can only be left from four to six hours without someone looking in on them.
Alone Time Tip # 2: Exercise
Exercising your dog before you leave for an extended time frame will help tire him out, making him less likely to pine for you. Take Fido on a vigorous walk/jog/run or play a frolicking game of fetch in the park to get him to expend all that excess energy.
Alone Time Tip # 3: No Fuss
This may be the hardest tip to follow, but do not make a fuss over your dog before you leave and also when you come back home. Keeping things calm in the home and all about the routine can help calm those anxious nerves of your precious pooch.
Alone Time Tip # 4: Time-Passers
Retail pet suppliers sell a variety of tough toys and those that can be stuffed with peanut butter or small kibble. Your dog will love its yummy treat each time you leave your home.
Hint: Give you dog the treat toy right before you walk out the door. This creates a sense of a “happy” anticipation and can keep your dog busy for hours.
Alone Time Tip # 5: Background Noise
Providing your pooch with some background noise to break up the silence may also help with separation anxiety.
This can be done by leaving on the radio or television or using a specially made CD like “Songs for Dogs…and the people who love them,” which uses soft, positive music and gentle everyday words that your dog can identify and relate to.
Alone Time Tip # 6: Leave Your Scent
Place a towel or blanket that you have used in your dog’s crate. The scent of you could be enough to calm those anxious nerves of your lonely dog.
Alone Time Tip # 9: Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a proven method to help reduce anxiety in people as well as dogs. There are many ways to use this technique such as spritzers, air diffusers, shampoos and candles. However, never leave a burning candle unattended for long periods-of-time.
Alone Time Tip # 10: Anxiety Shirts
Also known as “thunder shirt or vest” this anti-anxiety apparel is designed to fit snuggly around your dog. The key to the “thundershirt” is the comforting pressure it creates (like swaddling a baby) leaving the animal with a feeling of well-being and calmness.
Alone Time Tip # 11: Dog Sitter
To relieve the separation anxiety in your dog, you may have to enlist some help in the form of a dog sitter.
Relatives, a responsible neighborhood child or next door friend may be able to look in on your dog from time-to-time. This helps break up your dog’s day and is a wonderful way for it to get in some playtime, a quick walk or even just to go outside to relieve itself.
You may even be fortunate enough to have professional dog sitters in your city. Check your local listings or ask your veterinarian for help in locating a great dog sitter for your canine companion.
Alone Time Tip # 12: Medication
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do to help your dog with its separation anxiety, nothing seems to help, so this would be a good time to speak to your veterinarian about specific medication for this condition.
No More Stress!
It’s not healthy for an animal to go with prolonged stress, especially if there are ways to combat it. Follow these tips and enlist the help of a veterinarian when it comes to finding the best way or ways to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety.
Bonus: For yet another great option, check out PetChatz—the video calling system that allows your dog to call you!