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Coping with Separation Anxiety in Dogs: Tips for Pet Owners

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By Anna Grace

There’s nothing quite like coming home to a wagging tail and an excited pup after a long day at work. But for some dog owners, returning home can be a stressful and worrisome experience. Separation anxiety in dogs is a common behavioral issue that affects many dogs. Therefore, dog separation anxiety can lead to destructive behaviors, excessive barking, and even physical harm to the dog. 

In this article, we’ll explore separation anxiety, its causes, and how you can help your furry friend cope with this challenging condition. So, whether you’re a new pet owner or a mature pro, read on to learn more about anxiety in dogs and how best to support your beloved pup.

Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

separation anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs is a distressing condition that can cause your furry friend to become anxious, stressed, and upset when left alone. If you suspect that your dog is possibly suffering from separation anxiety, it’s essential to look out for the following signs:

Destructive behavior

Dogs with separation anxiety may destroy furniture, doors, or other objects in the home when left alone.

Excessive barking or howling

Dogs may bark, howl, or excessively when left alone, mainly if they can hear or sense their owners’ presence nearby.

Pacing and restlessness

Dog anxiety with separation anxiety may appear restless, pace around the house, or engross in repetitive behaviors.

House soiling

Dogs may urinate or defecate in the house when left alone, even if they are house-trained.

Refusing food or treats

Some anxiety in dogs may refuse to eat or take treats when left alone.Escape attempts: Dogs may try to escape from the house or crate when left alone, which can lead to injury or other dangerous situations.

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs

dog separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common behavioral issue in dogs that occurs when a dog becomes anxious and distressed when left alone. This condition can cause dangerous behaviors, excessive barking or whining, and even physical harm to the dog. There are several causes of anxiety in dogs, including genetics, environmental factors, and past experiences.

Genetics plays a role in a dog’s personality and behavior. Some breeds, such as the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd MixAre More Prone To Anxiety And Fear-Based Behaviors Than Others. Puppy Sad With A Genetic Predisposition To Anxiety May Be More Likely To Develop Separation Anxiety. Additionally, Individual Dogs May Inherit Certain Personality Traits.

Therefore, that makes them more responsive to separation anxiety, such as being overly dependent on their owners or having a low-stress threshold. Environmental factors can also furnish separation anxiety. Calm dogs that have experienced substantial changes in their routine or environment. However, when moving to a new home or being placed in a shelter, dog anxiety symptoms may be more likely to develop separation anxiety.

Additionally, dogs with long periods without proper socialization or training may develop anxiety when left alone. Past experiences can also play a role in developing dogs with separation anxiety. Dogs that have experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect may be more likely to develop anxiety when separated from their owners.

Common Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

dog anxiety

Common Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in dogs include:

  • Excessive barking, howling, or whining when left alone.
  • Destructive behavior is chewing, scratching, and sniffing doors or windows.
  • They attempt to escape or break out of their confinement area, such as a crate or room.
  • He is urinating or defecating indoors, even if the dog is house-trained.
  • Dog separation anxiety training with anxiety loss of appetite or refusing to eat when left alone.
  • Anxious dog excessive panting or drooling
  • Following their owner around excessively when they are home or show signs of anxiety as the owner prepares to leave.
  • Aggression or destructive behavior towards other pets or people in the household when left alone.

Urinating and Defecating

One of the common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs is urinating and defecating indoors, even if the dog is house-trained. This behavior results from the dog’s stress and anxiety when left alone, which is particularly frustrating for dog owners. When a dog undergoes separation anxiety, it may feel a strong urge to eliminate due to the stress hormones released in its body.

This urge can cause them to urinate or defecate even if they have just been outside to relieve themselves. In some cases, dogs may even eat their feces, a behavior known as coprophagia, which can be caused by stress and anxiety. This may include behavior modification techniques, such as habituation and counterconditioning, to help the dog become more comfortable left alone.

Barking and Howling

anxiety in dogs

Barking and howling are common symptoms of anxiety in dogs. When separation anxiety dogs, they may become anxious and stressed, leading them to bark and howl excessively. This behavior can be distressing for the dog and its owners, as it can lead to noise complaints from neighbors and cause tension within the household.

Puppies barking and howling may be for various reasons when experiencing separation anxiety. They may be seeking attention, expressing their anxiety, or attempting to alert their owner or others to their presence. Some anxiety dog may even bark and howl continuously, to the point where they become physically exhausted.

Chewing, Digging, and Destruction

Separation anxiety is a common issue among dogs, and it can manifest in many ways, such as chewing, digging, and destructive behavior. These behaviors are often the result of the dog feeling nervous and stress when left alone, and they may be a way for the dog to cope with these feelings.

Chewing and digging can be particularly destructive, as they can cause damage to furniture, flooring, and other household items. To help prevent these behaviors, providing your dog with plenty of mental and physical stimulation, like toys and exercise, is significant. Additionally, training your separation anxiety dogs to feel comfortable can be helpful.


Separation anxiety is a common behavioral problem in dogs that can cause significant distress for the pet and its owner. Therefore, to help his dog with separation anxiety, he provides plenty of mental and physical stimulation. This can include puzzle toys, chew toys, and interactive games that keep the dog engaged and entertained.


Pacing is a common symptom of dogs separation anxiety. Therefore, it may indicate that the dog feels stressed or anxious about being left alone. To reduce pacing, it’s essential to gradually acclimate your dog to being alone through desensitization.


Coprophagia, or the consumption of feces, is feasible as a sign of separation anxiety in dogs. It may occur due to stress or boredom. Give your stressed dog plenty of exercises, mental stimulation, and attention to prevent coprophagia. You may also require promptly cleaning up your dog’s waste to remove the temptation.

Best Medication for Separation Anxiety in Dogs

separation anxiety

According to this CheerbleAn interactive toy like the Cheerble WickedBone and Wicked Ball serve as excellent distractions and help keep your pet occupied while you’re gone. The best anxiety medicine for dogs depends on the severity of the symptoms and the dog’s needs. Some common medications that veterinarians may prescribe. 

Which include antidepressants like fluoxetine and clomipramine, anti-anxiety medications like alprazolam and diazepam, and natural supplements like CBD oil and melatonin. According to this RSPCA Research suggests that eight out of 10 dogs find it hard to cope when left alone.

 However, it’s important to note that anxiety medication for dogs should always be used in conjunction with behavior modification techniques and under the advice of a vet. It’s also important to discuss potential side effects and any pre-existing medical conditions with your vet before starting any medication regimen.

How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs

puppy sad

Treating separation anxiety in dogs involves a combination of behavior modification techniques and, in some cases, medication. Here are some steps you can take to help your dog:

Gradual Desensitization

Help your dog get used to being alone by gradually increasing your time away. Leave your dog alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.

Create a Safe Space

Provide a safe and relaxed space for your dog when you’re away. An anxiety dog crate, a designated room, or a bed can be a calming environment for them.

Leave Distractions

Provide some distractions for the dog, like toys or treats, to keep them occupied while you’re away.


Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercises before you leave to tire them out and help them relax.

Calm Departures and Arrivals

Avoid making a fuss when leaving or arriving home. Keep greetings and goodbyes low-key to avoid stressing out your for-dog anxiety.


In severe cases, your vet may specify to help reduce anxiety medication dogs.

Home Remedies for Separation Anxiety in Dogs

scratchings and sniffings

Here are some home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs:

  • Increase physical activity and exercise to reduce pent-up energy.
  • Provide mental stimulation with interactive toys or games to keep your dog’s mind engaged.
  • Create a designated space for your house dogs with relaxed bedding and toys to help them feel safe and secure.
  • Leave a piece of clothing or item with your scent on it for your dog to have when you’re not home.
  • Try a calming pheromone diffuser or spray to help soothe your dog’s nerves.
  • Practice desensitization techniques by gradually increasing your time away from your dog.
  • Consider using natural remedies such as chamomile or valerian root to promote relaxation.
  • Use positive reinforcement training to reward your dog anxiety treatment for calm behavior when you leave and return.

Separation Anxiety in Dogs at Night

dog anxiety symptoms

Separation anxiety is a common behavioral issue in dogs, and it can manifest itself in various ways, including at night. 

Therefore, dogs with separation anxiety may become restless and vocalize excessively when left alone. Some dog separation anxiety symptoms may also engage in destructive behavior, such as chewing or digging.

At night, the absence of their owners can be particularly distressing for our dog with separation anxiety. They can whine, bark, or howl throughout the night, making it challenging for the dog and the owner to get a good night’s sleep.

Severe Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Severe separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can cause substantial distress for the dog and the owner. Dogs with severe separation anxiety may exhibit extreme behaviors such as destructive chewing, excessive barking or howling, self-harm, and attempts to escape from their surroundings. These symptoms of anxiety in dogs behaviors can occur even when the owner is away for a short period.

To help separation anxiety in puppies with severe separation anxiety, it’s essential to work with a vet or certified dog behaviorist. Treatment choices may include behavior modification anxiety dog training, anti-anxiety medication, or a combination of both. Sometimes, calming aids such as pheromone diffusers or puzzle toys might also be helpful.

Separation Anxiety in Older Dogs

dog anxiety symptoms

Separation anxiety in older dogs can be challenging and distressing for the dog and its owner. As dogs age, they become more attached to their owners and may feel anxious or stressed when left alone. On the other hand, anxiety in dogs symptoms can manifest in various ways. Therefore, to help alleviate separation anxiety in older dog por, there are several strategies that owners can try.

First and foremost, it is vital to create a persistent routine for the dog, including regular exercise, feeding, and potty breaks. This can help the dog feel more secure and comfortable in their environment. Behavior modification techniques, such as gradually increasing the time a dog with anxiety is left alone, can also be effective.

Dog Peeing in Crate Separation Anxiety

scratchings and sniffings

Dog peeing in crate separation anxiety is typical in dogs that experience anxiety or stress when separate from their owners. This anxiety can cause the dog to urinate or defecate in their crate, which can be distressing for both the dog and the owner. 

Dog separation anxiety can have many causes, including a lack of socialization, a traumatic experience, or a change in routine. It can be challenging to manage, but several strategies can help. 

One approach is to slowly desensitize the dog to being alone by practicing short separations the length of time the dog is alone. Providing a safe and comfortable space, such as a crate with plenty of toys and treats, can also help the calm dog feel more secure when alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Early socialization, crate training, and gradually increasing periods of alone time can help prevent curing dog separation anxiety quickly. Additionally, providing your dog with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and affection can help them feel comfortable and confident when left alone.

Yes, separation anxiety can cause diarrhea in dogs. Stress, dogs whining, and anxiety can lead to digestive issues, including diarrhea.

Separation anxiety itself does not cause seizures in dogs. However, a dog with an underlying seizure disorder may experience seizures due to the stress of being left alone.

For some dogs, a crate can provide a safe and comfortable space that helps alleviate dogs with separation anxiety. However, for other dogs, being confined in a crate can worsen their anxiety. Introducing your dog to the crate slowly and gradually is significant and makes it a positive experience.

Treating separation anxiety typically involves a combination of behavior modification, medication, and management strategies. Behavior modification techniques such as desensitization and counterconditioning can help your dog feel more comfortable alone. Medications such as anti-anxiety drugs may also help reduce your severe separation anxiety in dogs. Management strategies, such as providing your dog with plenty of exercises and mental stimulation, can also help.

Yes, separation anxiety can cause vomiting in dogs. Stress and anxiety symptoms in dogs can lead to digestive problems, including vomiting.

Allowing your dog to sleep in your room may provide them with comfort and security, which can help reduce separation anxiety. However, if your dog is disruptive during the night, training them to sleep in a separate room or crate may be necessary.

While separation anxiety in dogs cannot be cured, it is possibly managed with the proper treatment and training. With patience and consistency, many puppy anxiety with separation anxiety can learn to feel more comfortable and secure when left alone.


In conclusion, separation anxiety is a common behavioral issue affecting many dogs and can be distressing for the dog and its owner. Dog owners need to recognize the signs of separation anxiety and seek specialist help to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Some strategies for treating anxiety med for dogs include behavior modification training and providing a secure environment. 

calm dogs

With patience, consistency, and appropriate intervention, dogs left alone with separation anxiety can learn to feel more comfortable and secure.