This article by Jennifer was originally published at FOMO Bones.
As a dog owner, dealing with canine separation anxiety and distress can sound like a daunting task. When you become a dog parent, you never think about the potential behavioral issues that might arise. The thought of having a dog that struggles with anxiety might even seem slightly absurd. The reality is: At one point or another during doggy parenthood, you are going to have to deal with some issues, and one of the most common is learning how to correctly and effectively treat separation anxiety.
Just like raising a child, everyone has different styles of parenting when it comes to their dog’s behavior. Some people prefer to crate train their dogs to get them used to being in a safe place while their human is away, while others believe that separation anxiety is due to a lack of mental stimulation or exercise. Despite the differences in doggy parenting styles, when it comes to treating severe separation anxiety, distress, and behavioral problems, everyone has one thing in common: The desire to overcome it.
Here are four steps to help your dog to overcome separation anxiety so you can feel completely at ease when you leave them home alone.
Step 1: Decide on a Strategy and Method
The very first thing you need to do is to determine when your dog’s unusual behavior or distress increases (i.e. is it right about the time you are getting ready to go out?). This is so you can pinpoint if your pup is acting out due to separation anxiety or if there is something else going on. If you are concerned, then you should contact your vet and schedule a check-up. Once you have been given the all clear, it’s time to create a strategy that you feel comfortable with. The most important thing to account for when it comes to treating separation anxiety in dogs is that you must be consistent, and you need to have patience. You won’t necessarily see an improvement overnight but stick with it and, before too long, things will get better.
Step 2: Create a Safe Place
As humans, when we feel alone or panicked we may seek refuge in our safe place. Some people will retreat to their man caves for long periods while others will seek comfort in their favorite chair, and many people instantly start to feel better when they are snuggled up in bed with their favorite pajamas on. If your dog doesn’t currently have her own bed, feeding area, or toys, then she may feel unsettled. To create a safe space for your pup, find a cozy and warm corner where you can set down a few blankets that have your scent on them to reassure her when you aren’t there. Many people are massive advocates of crate training, as it not only keeps your dogs out of trouble when unsupervised, it can actually be beneficial for their safety. If you do choose to look into crate training, please make sure that you seek professional guidance to ensure you do it right, or it could backfire.
Step 3: Natural CBD Treats
Cannabinoid-based products are appearing in media headlines every day thanks to therapeutic capabilities. With so many people starting to take CBD oil to alleviate a range of illnesses and issues, it’s no wonder CBD dog treats have also become extremely popular over recent years. The healing treats have been proven to significantly decrease the symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs, as well as having a range of positive benefits such as:
- Reduces nervous or hyperactive behavior
- Treats epilepsy and seizures*
- Relieves pain*
- Effectively treats arthritis*
- Promotes a healthy immune system
- Promotes organ health
Step 4: Doggie Cinema
Many dog owners report that their dog is less anxious and displays fewer problem behaviors, such as destructive chewing, when left alone if they have some background noise to keep them company. And while it might sound a little ridiculous, leaving the TV or radio on while your dog is alone can help her to feel less alone. The next time you are getting ready for a night out, try putting on a movie to distract and entertain your dog, allowing you to enjoy your evening without the fear of coming home to chaos and destruction.
Helping your dog overcome separation anxiety is not only going to allow your dog to have a well-balanced approach to life, but it will also benefit you as an owner. And if you want to successfully treat separation anxiety for good, then it is important to create a routine and stick to it. The good thing about natural remedies like CBD treats is that they can be used alone or in conjunction with any other method you choose. CBD is pretty much the only natural remedy that will allow you to see positive improvements fast, and the fact that there are so many other benefits means that your dog’s overall health will improve.
Separation anxiety in dogs will progressively get worse over time, which is why it is so important to take action as soon as you notice that something is awry. And as responsible dog owners, we should always approach the methods we choose with love and care, as changes won’t happen overnight. Patience and persistence is a key factor in ensuring that you are reinforcing a bond with your dog that is based on discipline and trust.
*Medical disclaimer: Clinical studies and research for these claims have not been provided. Please speak to your vet if your pet is having medical issues.
About the Author: Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure she was a Great Dane in her past life, but her team at FOMO pegs her as more of a Labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast with 15 years’ experience training dogs and owners.