Since the beginning of 2020, millions of us have been confined to our homes. It has become normal to work from home since the pandemic began. While you may or may not be loving the “new normal,” we can probably guarantee that your dog is! Dogs are very social creatures who are thrilled with as much attention as they can get. Even if you are busy working from home for hours, just the fact that you are there is a huge comfort to them.
Unfortunately, you may have already had to go back to your physical job, or you know that you will be going back soon. Your dog may go through separation anxiety when it happens. Since you can’t exactly explain it to them in words, read on for some ways to prepare your dog for the inevitable.
Signs and Symptoms of Dog Separation Anxiety
Your dog may display a few signs of separation anxiety before you even leave the house. This problem is triggered when the dog becomes upset when they know they are about to be separated from their owners. Some dogs will begin to drool and show signs of anxiety before the owner even leaves the house. Many will push their ears back and tuck their tails in-between their legs as you are getting ready to leave.
If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, he or she may display the following symptoms:
- Urinating and Defecating- One of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety is urinating and defecating in the house when the animal is left alone.
- Chewing- Dogs suffering from separation anxiety will take their frustrations out on random objects around the house, such as chairs, couches, shoes, and rugs.
- Digging- Some dogs will also dig at window sills and door frames when they are locked up alone at home. Trying to escape is a common sign of separation anxiety.
- Barking- Another very common symptom of separation anxiety is barking and howling. A dog who is upset at being left alone may start to bark and howl as soon as their owner shuts the front door behind them.
- Pacing the floor- Some dogs will walk around in a specific path when their owners are gone. They may either walk in a straight line or in circular patterns.
How to Reduce Dog Anxiety
Luckily, there are ways that you can reduce your dog’s anxiety after quarantine. Read on for some tips.
- Automatic Dog Feeder – Every dog loves to eat, so why not let them get used to a meal after you leave? Buy an automatic dog feeder and program it to feed your dog right after you leave the house. The act of eating will take their mind off of the fact that you have left them alone. They will also get used to being fed after you leave and will get used to the routine. You can check out what The Pampered Pup has to say for a thorough guide of the top feeders out there.
- Compression Wraps – Compression wraps are often used on dogs who get scared during thunderstorms or fireworks. However, they can also help a dog who is scared of being separated from their owner. The gentle, continuous pressure of the wrap has been known to reduce fear and anxiety in dogs.
- Change Your Greetings – Make sure that you greet your dog in a very calm manner when you leave and when you come home. Give your pup a quick pat on the head and a goodbye before you leave, and do the same when you arrive home. Do not give him a lot of attention the minute you walk in the door. Instead, wait until he has calmed down to really give him the hugs and kisses he wants.
- Ask for Help – If you are going to be out of your house for hours at a time post-quarantine, consider having a pet sitter come to your home once a day to give your dog some attention. If they can walk your pup, even better. A tired dog will not be as upset as a bored, energetic one. Finally, don’t be afraid to talk to your vet about separation anxiety. They can help you put together a personal plan for your dog and his response to your absence.