Separation anxiety in dogs is more common than you think. It’s more than the occasional whimpering and the puppy dog eyes you get whenever you step out of your house. You may initially think that this behavior may be cute but in reality, there’s a deeper meaning to your dog’s actions and it’s more likely that she’s trying to tell you that she’s suffering from separation anxiety. Today we will give you a brief review of our most recommended dog separation anxiety toys.
Separation anxiety symptoms vary. Your dog may exhibit more destructive behavior such as destroying items around your household whenever you leave or tend to go crazy as soon as she sees you come home from work. Either way, your dog probably has separation anxiety and one way to comfort her is to provide some tools that can help her while you are away.
If you are not sure if your dog has separation anxiety or not, here are some common symptoms of separation anxiety:
- Excessive barking
- Chewing on objects around the house
- Scratching on windows or doors
- Soiling the house
- Following you wherever you go
What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Research suggests that there is no clear explanation of why some dogs experience separation anxiety while others don’t. Nonetheless, it’s important to be observant when it comes to your furry friend’s behavior because her actions are usually an automatic response to a certain situation.
Here are some of the possible causes of distress:
- Experience of abandonment
- Traumatic experience
- Being left alone especially if it’s the first time
- Being left alone especially when your dog is used to having human contact
- Change in the routine
- Loss of a fellow pet, family or owner
- New house or environment
Identifying the Cause of Anxiety
Anything that causes a shift in schedule or routine such as moving to a new house, having a new family member or losing someone can lead to anxiety and even depression in dogs. It is very important to find the root cause and determine if your dog’s behavior is related to separation anxiety?
When it comes to separation anxiety in dogs, the problem usually arises when your pet is overly attached or possibly dependent on you or your family members. When they are separated from their owners, they tend to be overly anxious and their distress manifests through different behaviors such as soiling the house, destroying objects and barking excessively.
They are often extremely attached to their parents and rarely do activities on their own. Once they feel that you are preparing to leave the house, they will start to exhibit signs of anxiety and become restless. Research shows that most dogs crave a lot of attention and physical contact from their owners.
Hence, when they become separated, they even start to show physical symptoms such as shaking, shivering, and whining to name a few. They also start to show emotional behaviors including being withdrawn, quiet and refusing to eat.
These symptoms usually manifest whenever the owner leaves the house but in some cases, it can also happen only in certain situations. For example, whenever you leave for work every morning or when you go outside after coming home from work.
Another sign that indicates that your dog may have separation anxiety is when he is overly excited every time you come home.
How to Deal With Your Dog’s Anxiety
Dogs are considered as social animals and usually, they don’t want to be left alone especially for long periods of time. Therefore, some tend to develop separation anxiety and sometimes they tend to have boredom-related behaviors. Make sure to understand the difference between the two. For example, if you come home after being away for just half an hour and you discover that your dog is fine and relaxed, then your dog is just simply bored.
On the other hand, when you are sure that your dog is showing signs of having separation anxiety, make sure to address this problem. Work toward making your dog feel comfortable when you’re not around so that it will help ease her fear of being alone. Also, it is important to put effort and time into helping her and show her your love and support.
Here are some of the things you can do to help your dog get over his separation anxiety issues.
1. Don’t create drama when you’re leaving your dog.
One thing you should avoid when you’re leaving the house is saying long goodbyes to your dog. This only creates more drama and gives emphasis to the situation which does not help your dog at all. In fact, it only makes things worse for her.
When you’re treating your dog like a baby, you are feeding their anxieties and insecurities more. Instead, try to ignore your dog at least 15 minutes before you leave the house as well as 15 minutes after you get home. Once you see signs of their anxiety creeping up, resist the urge to reassure her. Make your hellos and goodbyes short and sweet.
2. Give your dog enough exercise.
Make sure that you give your dogs some exercise and do fun physical activities with her. This way, you can tire her so she will also feel too exhausted to bother showing signs of anxiety. At the same time, she will also feel happier after spending some time with you.
3. Use Music Therapy
There are several studies showing that music has a positive impact on animals. Did you know dogs in their crate had lower blood pressure when they listened to music? Barkwoo Music Box comes with specially crafted music in classical music tunes with up to 8 hours of battery life. You can easily attach it to your dog’s collar and leave her for the day. If you want to start helping your dog with your own device, check out the Barkwoo music library to play the best songs for your pup.
4. Train to be independent.
Dogs who have separation anxiety are also sometimes called as Velcro dogs because they are always following their owner’s footsteps wherever they go. Unfortunately, one of the major steps in addressing separation anxiety is to break your bond with your pet. This is quite difficult for most pet parents but this is actually the first step to gaining independence from you and reducing their anxiety when you’re not around.
Start by discouraging her from following you around and train her to stay in a separate room while you’re in another room. Teach her to stay down as you gradually create more distance away from her. Do this regularly until your dog learns to sit and stay down when you step away from the room.
5. Keep her distracted.
Keeping your dog distracted while you quietly leave the house is another effective way to manage the stress. When your furry pal is busy doing other stuff, you are shifting the focus and attention away from you.
This way, leaving her alone won’t be as dramatic as it normally is because she is concentrated on other things that are keeping them preoccupied. Therefore, providing dog separation anxiety toys to play around with is a great way to help keeping her distracted so that she won’t put too much emphasis on your absence.
Our Favorite Dog Separation Anxiety Toys to Keep Your Dog Engaged
In addition to music using toys can greatly diminish anxiety in dogs. These are our highly recommended choices for dog separation anxiety toys:
Ifetch is a great way to stimulate your dog’s mental and physical abilities. This automatic ball launcher keeps them engaged as they run around and fetch the balls while keeping them healthy, fit, and happy.
PetChatz camera is an excellent way to check-up on your pup. You can easily communicate with your dog while you’re away especially on long vacations. You can virtually interact with your dog to help ease their loneliness and separation anxiety.
Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy is a behavioral toy that is designed to help your pet deal with stress. This adorable toy reassures your dog with its physical warmth to comfort your dog and reduces signs of anxiety. What’s awesome about this toy is that it is designed with a simulated heartbeat and heat to recreate the feeling of intimacy with human contact.
StarMark Bob-A-Lot interactive toy is a great way to distract your dog and keep them engaged. This particular model acts as a feeding plate and a fun toy which wobbles around whenever your dog pokes at it. It helps alleviate signs of anxiety as well as boredom while providing mental stimulation for your furry pal.
Kong is a classic dog toy and has been in the market for more than four decades. This toy satisfies your dog’s instincts and is suitable for pets who are big chewers. You can even make their snack time more fun and engaging by adding some treats to this toy.
Keeping Your Dog Healthy is a Holistic Effort
When you’re working on a plan to ease your dog’s stress and anxiety, it helps if your dog isn’t left alone for long periods. You can opt to hire a dog sitter, take her to a dog daycare or provide dog separation anxiety toys. When you can finally leave your dog for 30 minutes without any problem, you’ll know that your plan is working properly.
Following these steps will help your dog achieve independence. However, remember that for this to work, you will have to put in the time, effort, and commitment. Just make sure to follow your dog’s pace and do the necessary steps before moving on to the next phase.
Check out our blog page for more helpful tips on taking care of your dog.