Did you know that dogs get a serotonin boost when they look at their owners? Very few animals actually get serotonin from looking at and spending time with humans. This means that every time your dog sees you, he experiences this release of this happy feel-good chemical, just like you do.

It’s this intense bond that drives people to adopt dogs into their lives. But what happens if you’re dog is suffering from highly anxious and destructive behavior? These could be signs of a very common affliction, called separation anxiety.

Read on to explore what causes separation anxiety in dogs, and how you can help your furry friend.

What Causes Separation Anxiety In Dogs

Separation anxiety is a condition that your dog develops due to either a sudden or prolonged period of high stress. It will then manifest in different excessively destructive, clingy, or fearful behavior.

While it’s more common in puppies, older dogs can also develop SA due to high stress or a traumatic event, such as abuse or abandonment. Some people believe that certain dogs have a predisposition to SA but there isn’t any clear evidence to support that.

Things That Can Trigger SA in Dogs

Pets can suffer from anxiety because of uncertainty around major life events, such as returning to the office after working from home. Since your pet doesn’t understand why you’re leaving, he can build up stress from this experience.

Here are some events that could trigger SA in dogs.

  • Divorce
  • Change in Routine
  • Moving To A New Place
  • Abandonment
  • Terrible Storms
  • And More

Dogs love to have similar routines to provide balance and a sense of security. When you need to change your schedule for any major life change, it can cause duress. 

What Are Symptoms of SA In Dogs 

If your pet is regularly exhibiting some of these symptoms, below, they may have separation anxiety.

  • Terrified To Be Left Alone
  • Excessive Destructive Behavior
  • Excessive Howling, Barking, or Whining
  • Pacing 
  • Trembling
  • Excessive Panting or Drooling
  • Overly Clingy Behavior

It’s important to note that boredom and SA are different things. SA is a sign of major stress. It’s important to deduce that these behaviors are not due to inadequate training. A great way to test this out is to videotape your dog’s actions while you are away.

Ways To Help Your Dog

Thankfully there is help in treating your dog’s separation anxiety. Try implementing these tactics to see if they help. By creating a regular schedule, adding plenty of enrichment, and even desensitizing them to being on their own, you’ll help them heal.

  • Desensitization
  • Crate Training
  • Socialization
  • Professional Training  
  • Regular Exercise
  • Consistent doggy daycare or pet sitter 
  • Enrichment Tools

Discover more ways to help. If problems persist, speak with a vet or professional trainer.

Tactics To Avoid

Since your dog doesn’t understand why you’re upset with his behavior, it’s important to not scold or punish him. See a list of things to not do when trying to help your pet.

  • Don’t Scold or Punish Your Dog
  • Don’t Use Shock Collars 
  • Don’t Leave For Prolonged Periods
  • Don’t Leave in Crate If Not Comfortable

Remember, dogs don’t “just get over it.” They need help and love to understand what’s going on.

Seek Out Helpful Solutions Today!

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault that your pet has separation anxiety. Now that you have a better understanding of what causes separation anxiety in dogs, you can help implement helpful strategies to overcome it. 

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