Separation anxiety in dogs is one of the most common challenges that dog owners face. Canines who suffer from separation anxiety don’t just dislike their humans being away from them, they experience intense panic attacks resulting in destruction to not only themselves but also their environment.
During a panic attack, a dog may bark, howl, destroy the home, have accidents, and exhibit many stress-induced behaviors. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, roughly between 20% and 40% of dogs who are seen by animal behaviorists in North America are diagnosed with separation anxiety.
While some dogs are genetically predisposed to this prevalent issue, it can be hard to know how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs. However, it is important to remember that separation anxiety can also be triggered later on in life. Separation anxiety in older dogs is also very common. It is usually triggered after an event such as ending up at a shelter or a sudden change in routine.
Sometimes, the holiday season can tend to upset your dog even more. This is because you are away more often, and people are constantly entering and exiting the house. Let’s take a look at how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs during the holidays.
What Is Separation Anxiety?
To learn how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs, you must first need to understand what it is. Dogs most commonly experience separation anxiety when their owners leave the house. They often display signals of distress by becoming anxious when their owner begins to leave.
They may even try to prevent that departure by chewing, drooling, barking, or displaying other signs of anxiety and distress. It is important to learn how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs if possible. Then, you need to learn how to manage it if your dog is displaying signs.
The Signs of Separation Anxiety
It can sometimes be hard to spot the difference between separation anxiety and normal dog behavior. It can be even harder if you have a puppy. If your dog is only a puppy, don’t go looking for puppy separation anxiety solutions just yet. Whining and crying are all normal puppy behaviors.
Separation anxiety usually looks like destroying rooms, constant barking and whining, pacing, escape attempts, and sometimes defecation and urination inside even if your dog is house-trained. Separation anxiety in older dogs usually prevents much the same.
Why Do Some Dogs Suffer from Separation Anxiety?
When wanting to learn how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs, you need to know why some dogs suffer from it and others don’t. Separation anxiety will usually stem from some sort of disruption in your dog’s life. This especially applies to separation anxiety in older dogs.
If your dog experiences a significant or drastic change, this can cause them concern when similar changes begin to happen. The most common scenario that triggers this terrible disorder is experiencing a family change of some sort. Many rescue dogs tend to suffer from separation anxiety. This is because losing their family can be very distressing and confusing.
Other reasons why your dog may develop separation anxiety can include:
- Moving to a new house
- Having a new baby
- A change in schedule
These reasons can cause your dog to suffer from separation anxiety. Now, you need to look at puppy separation anxiety solutions as well as ways to soothe separation anxiety in older dogs.
How to Avoid Separation Anxiety in Dogs During the Holidays
Here are some of the best ways of how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs during the holidays. Let’s take a look.
Make Minimal Changes
When trying to soothe separation anxiety in older dogs or find puppy separation anxiety solutions, try this top preventative solution. It seems too good to be true, but often enough, it works. The best way to prevent separation anxiety is to avoid any significant changes in your dog’s environment or life.
When the holiday season is coming up quickly, you should begin preventative training. It is essential when learning how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs. If you find yourself at home with your dog more often than not, this will not help to prepare them for the holiday season.
Instead, you should start practicing for when the holidays come around. If you are dealing with separation anxiety in older dogs, try to leave your dog alone at least once a day. This is also one of the best puppy separation anxiety solutions. Start by only leaving for short amounts of time and gradually increase the time.
This way, your dog will get used to your absence and your returns.
When learning how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs during the holidays, you need to know how important it is to act casual. Puppies can be extremely hyper. So, when looking for puppy separation anxiety solutions for puppies, you need to be calm.
When you are about to leave, try to remain calm and casual. Don’t make a big deal out of leaving the house. If your dog doesn’t get much attention before you go, your absence will be less of a shock.
This should also apply to when you return home. After a while, your dog will begin viewing this as normal rather than a big event.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Happy to Be Alone
Puppies especially thrive off your attention. So, when learning how to avoid separation anxiety in dogs, you need to ensure that they are happy to be alone. To make sure your puppy or older dog is happy when they’re alone, you need to provide special treats or toys that are exclusive to when your pet is alone.
By providing them with something new, exciting, or tasty when they’re alone that they don’t usually get will make them look forward to being alone. This is one of the best puppy separation anxiety solutions.
Speak to A Professional
A professional dog trainer can sometimes be the best for your situation. A good trainer will have an exceptional understanding of dog psychology which will help them teach you the tools for managing your dog’s anxiety. They will also help you with tips and tricks to practice with your dog at home.
Sometimes, the last step is the only step that works. If none of the aforementioned tips help, you may need to consider a visit to the vet. A veterinarian will assess your dog and prescribe medication to help them avoid distress.
The Bottom Line
When learning about puppy separation anxiety solutions as well as ways to soothe separation anxiety in older dogs, you need to be patient. Preventing and treating separation anxiety in dogs is an essential part of owning dogs. Sometimes, dogs can have a hard time adjusting to change.
While the holidays might be an exciting time for you, they can be distressing for your dog. Your dog will be much happier if you work towards preventing separation anxiety from happening as well as understanding how to treat it if it has already started.
If in doubt, use this guide to prevent and avoid separation anxiety in your dogs during the holiday season.