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Stop Separation Anxiety in Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

Separation anxiety in dogs is a common problem that can cause distress to both the pet and their owners. Dogs with separation anxiety can suffer from destructive behaviour, excessive barking, and even depression. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to help alleviate the problem. This guide will cover the causes, signs, and treatments of separation anxiety in dogs, and provide practical tips on how to stop separation anxiety in your pet.

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Separation anxiety in dogs is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Dogs that have been rehomed or separated from their original owners may be more prone to developing the condition. Dogs that were not socialised as puppies or have had a traumatic experience can also be more prone to developing separation anxiety. Furthermore, certain breeds such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers are more prone to developing the condition.

It is important to note that separation anxiety can develop at any age, and is not limited to puppies or elderly dogs. Some dogs may develop separation anxiety when their owners leave for extended periods of time, such as when going on holiday or for business trips. Other dogs may become anxious when their owners are in the house but not paying attention to them.

Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

The signs of separation anxiety in dogs can vary from mild to severe. Common signs include excessive barking and whining, destructive behaviour, elimination in the house, attempts to escape, pacing and restlessness, and depression. If your dog is displaying any of these signs, it is important that you seek help from a qualified veterinarian or animal behaviourist.

Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs

The first step in treating separation anxiety in dogs is to identify the underlying cause. If the cause of the anxiety is environmental, such as a change in the home or a new pet, then it may be possible to make changes to the home or lifestyle to reduce the anxiety. If the cause is genetic, then it may be necessary to seek help from a professional. Treatment for separation anxiety in dogs may include behavioural modification, medication, desensitisation, and counter-conditioning. Your veterinarian or animal behaviourist will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your pet.

How to Stop Separation Anxiety in Dogs

There are a number of steps that can be taken to help stop separation anxiety in dogs. These include:

  • Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation - Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help to reduce stress and anxiety in dogs. Taking your dog for daily walks, playing games, and providing interactive toys can help to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  • Create a safe environment - If your dog is displaying signs of separation anxiety, it is important to create a safe and secure environment for them. This may include providing a comfortable bed, chews, and toys to help keep them distracted when you are away.
  • Ignore the behaviour - It is important to ignore any behaviours that your dog is displaying due to separation anxiety. This includes barking, whining, and destructive behaviour. Ignoring these behaviours will help to reduce the anxiety and encourage your dog to find alternative ways to cope.
  • Train your dog - Training your dog can help to reduce separation anxiety. Teaching basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘leave it’ can help to establish a sense of structure and routine. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
  • Provide positive reinforcement - Providing positive reinforcement when your dog displays calm behaviour can help to reduce anxiety levels. Praising your dog and providing treats when they are calm and relaxed can help to reinforce the desired behaviour.


Separation anxiety in dogs can be a difficult problem to overcome, but with the right help and guidance it is possible to reduce the anxiety and help your pet to cope. It is important to seek help from a qualified veterinarian or animal behaviourist if you suspect that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Following the steps outlined in this guide can help to reduce the anxiety and provide your pet with the support they need.

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