Separation anxiety is a situation where one finds it hard to let go of someone or something. This goes beyond the basic sense of sadness, which comes when being apart from a loved one or a cherished possession. Instead, the thought of parting or being detached from someone or something even for a short time is accompanied by a massive fear and gripping horror.
Humans, as well as animals, can suffer from separation anxiety. Dogs mainly are very prone to suffering from this condition because of their intense loyalty and commitment to their owners. The bond between the owner and his dog is very similar to that of a parent and his child.
How to know that your dog has separation anxiety?
Some common symptoms of separation anxiety include:
- Incessant barking and howling
- Urination and defecation
- Destructive chewing and digging
- Rapid Pacing
- Excessive drooling
Incessant barking and howling
If you get complaints from your neighbors about your dog barking continuously during the time you are away from home, it may be his way of crying out for you.
Urination and defecation
This can be very unpleasant, but sometimes dogs can urinate and defecate around the house even though they have already been appropriately trained in this regard. If you come home to find excrement on the floor, it may signal separation anxiety.
Destructive chewing and digging
Dogs chew and dig into tables, chairs, shoes, and other things when they are anxious. These signs should not be overlooked
Your dog can be overtaken with fear to the point that he tries to escape. This is an extreme case and can be very dangerous as he may break through windows in an attempt to run away and end up being badly hurt.
Your pet may show anxiety by pacing consistently back and forth or in circular motions
Some dog breeds are known to drool a lot, but when you come home to find a large puddle of drool, which is significantly more than average, it may be a result of separation anxiety.
These symptoms may be similar to various other conditions and may also be a sign that your canine pet requires some domestic training. Still, if the symptoms appear only in your absence when the dog is left alone, then it is very likely that he suffers separation anxiety.
Nonetheless, it is essential to consult your veterinarian to find out if there are any health reasons behind these symptoms. Such symptoms could also be possible side effects of medications that he is under. You can safely conclude that the case at hand is that of separation anxiety, once everything else has been ruled out.
Many times, dogs suffering from this form of anxiety will do anything and everything to get you to stay with them.
There are many treatments based on the severity of anxiety. Severe cases of separation anxiety will require the consultation of a certified animal behaviorist or a certified professional dog trainer. Whereas for mild separation anxiety, the problem could be solved by counter-conditioning, where you develop a situation in which the animal’s fears become associated with something pleasant. This is effectively achieved with the use of the best dog toys for separation anxiety.
Dog Separation Anxiety Toys
There are various toys explicitly designed to treat separation anxiety in dogs. Some of which are;
These are toys that are made with compartments or holes for storing treats. Some of them are puzzle toys where your dog has to solve some simple puzzles, and treats are uncovered as he progresses. These are also very mentally stimulating and can keep him occupied for a good amount of time. Try;
- The KONG Wobbler toy
- Starmark treat-dispensing Bob-a-lot dog toy
- Busy buddy calming dog toy
- Treatstik treat and food dispensing toy
- Behavioral aid toys
As the name suggests, these toys are designed to curb behavioral excesses of anxiety. They are essentially comforting toys and keep the dog calm and relaxed when he starts feeling anxious.
With an embedded heat source and a pulsing heartbeat, these toys take away the feeling of fear and loneliness.
A good option is;
- The Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Dog Toy
Musical dog toys
It has been proven that soothing music can help calm dogs down when they get nervous or scared. If your dog is responsive to sound, this may be the right method for getting rid of his anxiety. Not only is it soothing, but the sound of music playing can muffle up external noises that could trigger the dog. Try;
- Pet tunes canine by Petacoustics
Why not offer your furry pet some old belongings, shoes or T-shirts. Dogs get a whole lot of satisfaction from chewing on and playing with shoes as well as snuggling with garments. The more worn out they are, the better.
That way, they will have more of your scent, which gives them comfort and calms to overcome the anxiety they feel in your absence.
Besides, this presents absolutely zero costs to you while being highly valuable to your canine partner.
Endeavor to engage your dog in physical activities while you are around, play fetch, take him for walks, send him on errands around the house and make him help you out in chores as much as possible. Dogs can be very active when stimulated; in this way, he will probably be too tired to be anxious when you are about to leave the house and would not mind resting in your absence.
Separation anxiety is a situation that can be overcome with time and patience. You are the only one who can tell if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, and it is also up to you to determine when he is fit to be left alone for long periods of time.