Northlands' tips on reducing separation anxiety in dogs

With the end of the summer holidays combining with more people returning to work, many dogs are going to miss the extra attention and companionship they’ve enjoyed. Suddenly they’re alone and this change can create a lot of stress.

To help ease the transition, the team at Garston Vets would like to suggest their 6 top tips tips on reducing separation anxiety in dogs. Read them, then talk to us if you’d like more information on any of our advice.

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Our top six tips on reducing separation anxiety in dogs:

Watch for the signs - If your dog has separation anxiety, you (or your neighbours) may observe one or more of the following:

  • Barking and howling whilst you are out – neighbours will often tell you

  • Destructive behaviour – chewing household objects or generally making a mess

  • Toileting inside – urinating and defecating in the home

  • Panting and shaking – restless, stressed and anxious behaviour

If you see any of these behaviours, consider the following:

  1. Walk your dog before going out – If your dog has been exercised, they’re more likely to rest and relax once left alone.

  2. Leave your dog some enrichment activity – Giving your dog a food or other enrichment puzzle can give them something to do, to distract them as you leave.

  3. Don’t make a fuss when you leave – Avoid touching, talking and eye contact when you depart and return. This way your dog won’t see your comings and goings as a big deal.

  4. Stay calm at all times – Be an assertive pack leader, so your dog feels reassured. If your dog has been naughty while you’re out, don’t get angry.

  5. Ignore your dog - On arriving home, ignore your dog and behave calmly, until they also become relaxed and calm themselves. This shows that you, the pack leader, are not stressed and will not react to their attention-seeking behaviour.

  6. Use a pheromone diffuser – A dog-appeasing pheromone diffuser (often known as a DAP diffuser) can be plugged in around the house to help calm your dog naturally. If you’d like to know more, ask our head nurse or anyone else in our team.

Ask us about DAP collars

If you’re struggling to get the results you want, remember that we’re always here to help or we can refer you to our recommended behaviourist Charismatic Pets.

Northlands' tips on reducing separation anxiety in dogs