Does My Dog Have Separation Anxiety?
Dogs miss their humans when we're not home. It’s just a fact. But some dogs miss us more than others, to the point that it’s unhealthy for them. If you’re coming home to destroyed toys or pee on the floor and wondering “Does my dog have separation anxiety?” - keep reading. We’ll share the top five signs that your pooch is getting a little too lonely.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Any dog left home alone might bark at certain stimuli, like somebody passing by the window or the postie. However, if is constantly barking, howling, or making other noises while you’re out, it’s a sign of a very anxious dog. Not sure if your dog is barking? Check with your neighbours.
- Chewing or being destructive
Do you regularly come home to find your chair legs gnawed, your doors scratched, and toy stuffing all over the floor? It’s important to help your dog’s anxiety as this behaviour can cause broken teeth and claws.
A spritz of Bitter Apple Spray will deter your dog from chewing furniture, but it doesn’t solve their underlying anxiety.
- Toileting inside
Anxious dogs can find themselves so stressed out when alone that they will wee or poo right there in your house, even when they’re usually housetrained. Apart from being unsanitary, this can even lead to some dogs developing coprophagia – in other words, they’ll start eating their own poo. That’s some bad breath even a dental chew can’t solve.
- Compulsive behaviours
A compulsive behaviour means a repeated action that doesn’t have a purpose. They’re usually caused by anxiety or stress. Compulsive behaviours in dogs include spinning/tail chasing, biting at the air or flies, pacing and circling, and self-mutilation like chewing or excessive licking.
Home should be the place where your dog feels safest. If they’re frequently trying – or succeeding – to make a break for it, separation anxiety can be the cause. Look for teeth and claw damage around exit points like doors and windows for a sign of this behaviour.
Other signs of separation anxiety in dogs include:
- Excessive drooling
Does my dog have separation anxiety or a medical condition?
Separation anxiety is not the only cause of these behaviours. Incontinence is commonly caused by medical conditions, and accidents and chewing are pretty normal with young puppies.
If these behaviours only occur when you’re not at home, separation anxiety is the likely culprit. Separation anxiety is often triggered by recent changes in your dog’s home, like a family member moving out or their work schedule changing.
To rule out any medical issues, we always recommend taking your pet to the vet when their behaviour changes.
Has your dog been struggling with you returning to the office? Or do they get upset even if you just pop to the shop? Check out our Separation Anxiety Bundle for our favourite calming products to keep your dog distracted and happy while you’re out.