Separation Anxiety in Small Dogs: Understanding It and How to Treat It

Every pet owner likely understands the term “separation anxiety” when it comes to their four-legged friend. If you have not yet experienced just what it is, consider yourself lucky. Separation anxiety in small dogs, or any dog for that matter, can cause bad habits and destructive behavior. Often, owners are forced to kennel their pets while away to save their expensive furniture. However, it is important for any pet owner to completely understand just what separation anxiety truly is before they can decide the best path for correction.

It’s 4:00pm and you are dreading going home to discover what your dog has destroyed today. Thoughts run through your mind about what became a chew toy in the time you were gone, worrying that it may be that antique chair or Italian leather couch.

Sound familiar? An estimated 10-15% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety. While that may not seem like an overwhelming number, those who have ever had to deal with separation anxiety in small dogs understand what a nightmare it can be.

What Is Separation Anxiety?

So what exactly is separation anxiety? In humans, we understand it is a stressful reaction to being apart from those that they are used to being with most of the time; this is also true for separation anxiety in small dogs. In a nutshell, separation anxiety is simply boredom.

It may seem a bit drastic for just a simple case of boredom, but some dogs truly feel the effects of separation anxiety to its fullest extent, as do the owners. After a dog is left alone they may feel the need to chew on furniture or other objects (ones that smell the most like you), using the bathroom inside, or barking continuously throughout the day even after you are home. All of these are the tell tale signs of a dog suffering from separation anxiety.

Relieving Separation Anxiety

So what can you do to help relieve the effects of separation anxiety and eliminate it? The truth is that a dog with separation anxiety will never fully be rid of it. The fact of the matter being that just like any anxiety issues that can also be present in humans, the stress is never really gone. The symptoms are simply eliminated or lessened.

The best solution to making sure that your dog feels there is no need to react to your leaving is to make them truly believe that you are coming back. This can be accomplished by simple changes in behavior such as being positive, and upbeat as you are leaving and coming home each day. This will help to ease your dog’s anticipation for your departure and arrival less of an event.

Also, exercise is an important factor. Taking your dog for a long walk each evening or morning before you leave will help to make them tired. If a dog is tired, there is less time to think about destroying anything and they will simply sleep all day.

There are many different tricks to helping ease separation anxiety in your dog. However, no two dogs are alike and thus you must try whatever works for you and your furry friend. Separation anxiety is very easy to solve, you just have to put in the time and effort.