If you’ve ever returned home to find your beloved pup has turned your living room into a scene reminiscent of a tornado aftermath, chances are you’re dealing with a case of separation anxiety. It’s a common issue among our furry companions, but fret not, fellow dog lovers! With the right strategies from the likes of Barksy and a little patience, you can help your canine companion overcome their anxiety and find peace when you’re away.

Understanding Separation Anxiety

Essentially, it’s a distressing response triggered when a dog is separated from their owner or the people they’re closely bonded with. Symptoms can range from mild whining and pacing to destructive behaviors like chewing furniture or incessant barking.

Signs Your Dog May Have Separation Anxiety

Spotting the signs early can make a world of difference in addressing separation anxiety effectively. Keep an eye out for these telltale behaviors:

  • Excessive barking, howling, or whining when left alone
  • Destructive chewing or scratching, especially around exits like doors and windows
  • Pacing or restlessness before you leave
  • Potty accidents indoors despite being house-trained
  • Exuberant greeting behaviors upon your return, as if you’ve been gone for ages

Building Independence Gradually

One effective approach is to gradually acclimate your dog to periods of separation. Start with short departures, perhaps just a few minutes at a time, and gradually extend the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable. This method helps your pup learn that being alone doesn’t equate to abandonment and can mitigate their anxiety over time.

Establishing a Comforting Routine

Dogs thrive on routine, so establishing a consistent departure routine can provide a sense of security. This might include activities like a brief walk or play session before you leave, followed by a special treat or toy to occupy them in your absence. Creating a predictable pre-departure ritual can help signal to your dog that it’s time to relax rather than fret.

Creating a Safe Haven

Designating a cozy retreat for your dog can offer a safe haven when they’re feeling anxious. Whether it’s a crate, a comfy bed in a secluded corner, or a favorite blanket, ensure this space is associated with positive experiences. Leave familiar scents, such as an unwashed shirt or a recently used blanket, to provide comfort in your absence.

Utilizing Calming Aids

In some cases, calming aids like pheromone diffusers or anxiety vests can help take the edge off your dog’s separation anxiety. These products leverage natural or synthetic compounds to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if such aids could benefit your furry friend.

Enriching Their Environment

A mentally stimulated dog is less likely to succumb to anxiety-driven behaviors. Provide plenty of interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and chew toys to keep your dog entertained while you’re away. Consider rotating toys regularly to prevent boredom and maintain their novelty.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

A tired dog is a happy dog, as the saying goes. Prioritize regular exercise sessions to burn off excess energy and promote relaxation. Engage in activities that stimulate their mind as well as their body, such as obedience training, agility courses, or scent work. A tired pup is less likely to engage in destructive behaviors out of anxiety or boredom.

Avoid Making Departures and Arrivals a Big Deal

As tempting as it may be to lavish your dog with affection before leaving or upon returning home, it’s important to keep departures and arrivals low-key. Making a fuss over your comings and goings can inadvertently reinforce your dog’s anxiety by signaling that these moments are significant and worthy of stress.

Seek Professional Guidance if Needed

If your dog’s separation anxiety persists despite your best efforts, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A certified dog trainer or animal behaviorist can assess your dog’s specific needs and tailor a comprehensive treatment plan. They may recommend techniques such as desensitization and counterconditioning to help your dog overcome their anxiety in a structured, supportive manner.


Dealing with a dog suffering from separation anxiety can be challenging, but it’s not insurmountable. By understanding the underlying causes of their anxiety and implementing targeted strategies to address it, you can help your furry companion feel more secure and content when you’re apart.

FAQs About Easing Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Got burning questions about helping your furry friend cope with separation anxiety? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! Here are some frequently asked questions along with expert answers to guide you through this journey:

Q: My dog only exhibits separation anxiety when I leave for work. How can I help them cope with longer periods alone?

A: Gradually increasing the duration of your departures can help your dog acclimate to longer periods of alone time. Start by leaving for short intervals and gradually extend the duration over time. Additionally, providing plenty of mental stimulation and comfort in the form of interactive toys and cozy retreats can help alleviate their anxiety during extended absences.

Q: Will getting another dog help alleviate my dog’s separation anxiety?

A: While getting another dog may provide companionship for your pup, it’s not a guaranteed solution for separation anxiety. In some cases, it may even exacerbate the problem if both dogs become distressed when left alone. Before introducing a new furry friend into the mix, consider consulting with a professional to assess whether it’s the right course of action for your specific situation.

Q: Can separation anxiety in dogs be cured completely, or is it something they’ll always struggle with?

A: While some dogs may overcome their separation anxiety with proper training and management techniques, for others, it may be a lifelong struggle. The goal isn’t necessarily to eliminate separation anxiety entirely but rather to help your dog manage their stress and feel more comfortable when left alone. With patience, consistency, and the right strategies, many dogs can learn to cope with their anxiety and lead happier, more relaxed lives.

Q: Is it okay to leave my dog alone for extended periods if they have separation anxiety?

A: Leaving a dog with separation anxiety alone for extended periods can exacerbate their distress and lead to destructive behaviors. It’s essential to gradually acclimate them to alone time, provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation, and ensure they have a safe, comfortable environment in your absence. If you need to be away for an extended period, consider enlisting the help of a pet sitter or doggy daycare to provide companionship and supervision.

Q: Will medication help alleviate my dog’s separation anxiety?

A: In some cases, medication prescribed by a veterinarian may be necessary to manage severe separation anxiety in dogs. These medications can help alleviate symptoms and reduce stress levels, making it easier for your dog to cope with being alone. However, medication should always be used in conjunction with behavioral training and management techniques for the best results.

You might also enjoy:

Leave A Comment