5 Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs: What to look out for
Separation anxiety is a common problem in dogs during all life stages. When some dogs are left alone, they are likely to become anxious or distressed because of the absence of their owner. Although separation anxiety is not the only form of anxiety dogs can suffer from, it is the most common, so it is important to be able to recognise the signs. If not delt with properly, repeated suffering can cause a variety of long-term problems including loss of appetite and reduced lifespan.
The first step to treating separation anxiety is recognising its symptoms. In this article, we will cover 5 common symptoms of separation anxiety. A useful tip if you suspect your dog might be suffering is to install a camera where your dog spends most of their time (you can also use your laptop camera) and either record what happens or watch it live. If you see your dog displaying any of the following symptoms, it is recommended that you visit a vet or an animal behaviourist to get a proper diagnosis.If you would like to more learn more about treating separation anxiety, we give a free eBook (5 Ways To Reduce Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety) with all purchases of our SleepEasy™ Calming Bed.
1. Excessive barking or howling
Anxious dogs are known to bark excessively when left alone. This is likely to be their way of calling for help and calling out to their owners. It can become very disruptive if it happens every time you leave your dog at home, and can cause repeated complaints by neighbours. If your buddy starts barking excessively as you are leaving and keeps doing so while you are away, this is likely a sign of separation anxiety.
2. Chewing on objects
Anxious dogs may chew on objects as a way to relieve stress. This can cause damage to your belongings, and can also be dangerous for your dog if they ingest something toxic. Dogs may chew your items while you are at home, which can be a sign of anxiety, but not separation anxiety. However, if they do it specifically while you are away, this is a sign to note.
3. Escaping from the house or yard
Dogs may try to escape from your house when left alone out of boredom, fear, or anxiety. If you see scatch marks around your door and/or bloody paws/nails on your return, this is an immediate red flag. Bloody paws are an indication of advanced separation anxiety and points to a state of serious panic and distress, so visit a vet or a specialist as soon as possible if this occurs.
4. Urinating or defecating in the house
Dogs defecating or urinating around your house, especially when they are not toilet trained, is not anything out of the ordinary. However, if you dog is well toilet training and urinates or defecates specifically when you leave the house and/or are away, this is a sign of separation anxiety. Just like the other symptoms, this is a clear sign of distress and extreme anxiety. Not only is it very frustrating for owners to have to clean up, but it indicates that your dog is suffering when you leave the house.
5. Pacing or circling
Anxious dogs can pace back and forth or circle relentlessly while you are gone. This is when a having a camera can become especially useful, so that you can observe exactly what how your dog is behaving while you are away. If your dog is displaying this behaviour, make sure to speak to your vet.
If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, it is very lilely that they are suffering from separation anxiety. Although your dog could only be suffering from mild separation anxiety, it is essential to get on top of the issue as soon as you can. Consult a veterinarian or animal behaviourist to get the issue properly diagnosed.
We recommend all dog owners get a calming dog bed as the first step to treating separation anxiety. Although calming beds will not entirely cure a dog's separation anxiety, having a secure and comfortable place of rest can make a big difference to a dog's wellbeing. The Pawco Calming Bed is designed to reduce separation anxiety by giving your dog great comfort and security. You will also get a free eBook (5 Ways To Reduce Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety) with any purchase of our calming bed.