Some dogs can find being left on their own an overwhelming and stressful experience. Have you ever wondered what happens when you leave home every day and your dog is left alone? Instead of installing high-end and expansive video cams, you can just learn to read the secret signs your dog is sending to you.
What Is separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset due to separation from their guardians, the people they’re attached to. For some dogs, these separation-related behaviors are simply a product of boredom due to lack of appropriate physical and mental stimulation. Whereas for other dogs, separation-related behaviors and anxiety are much deeper rooted. Over time, your dog might even start to anticipate the behavior and the changes to their environment that lead up to that person leaving, and may start showing their anxious behaviors before it even happens.
Common Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
The following is a list of symptoms that may indicate separation anxiety:
If your neighbors are constantly complaining about an intensely annoying barking they hear from your house while you are not at home, it could point out that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Dogs won’t be dogs if they don’t bark, but relentless woofs are an indicator that something’s wrong.
As a pet parent, slobber at lunchtime is considered normal. But, If you’ve just got home back from work and you find your dog’s torso and nose covered in drool, it might be a sign that your friend is feeling anxious when you are out.
Hyper-attachment is another sign that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. So, if your dog follows you around the house all the time and can’t be away from you even for a second, it is time to act.
Accidents in the House
If you come home and you notice that your dog has left some nasty presents everywhere, don’t panic. Your friend didn’t party with other neighborhood dogs. Accidents in the house are like little clues from your dog who’s trying to tell you about the agony they’re facing every time you leave home.
Yes, redecorating. Dogs can redecorate your room. We do it, too! It is well known that reorganization is a great stress reliever, and we usually redecorate or reorganize our home, our room, and even our wardrobe when we feel overwhelmed or sad.
The same happens with dogs. You might notice that the pillows are not in the same place where you put them, or that the lamps or other smaller pieces of furniture have magically been ‘misplaced’. However odd it may seem, this is a good sign, because it is a confirmation that your dog is trying to deal with the condition.
Chewing on your slippers is terrific fun and almost all dogs enjoy that, but sometimes it may be a warning sign that your dog doesn’t feel at ease when you are not at home.
If you notice your dog is doing it often when you’re gone or soon after you come back, you need to pay special attention and search for other signs. You’ll be surprised by the ways your dog might reveal they suffer from separation anxiety.
Changes in eyes and ears
Stressed dogs, like stressed people, may have dilated pupils and blink rapidly. They may open their eyes really wide and show more sclera (white) than usual, giving them a startled appearance. Ears that are usually relaxed or alert are pinned back against the head.
Changes in body posture
Dogs normally bear even weight on all four legs. If a healthy dog with no orthopedic problems shifts their weight to their rear legs or cowers, they may be exhibiting stress. When scared, dogs may also tuck their tails or become quite rigid.
Although less noticeable in outside settings, such as visiting a new dog park, shedding increases when a dog is anxious.
Changes in bodily functions
Like people, nervous dogs can feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. Refusal of food and loss of bowel function are also stress indicators.
What can you do if your dog suffers from separation anxiety?
If you notice any of the behaviors listed above, whatever you do, don’t punish your dog. Consider the warning signs and start trying to reduce your pup’s stress. You could start by putting an end to all those emotional hugs and dramatically waving goodbye when you leave the house. Stop jingling with your keys and head out nonchalantly. When you return home, wash your hands, put on casual clothes, and then say hello to your dog.