Is your perfect pooch suddenly destroying your living room couch or being even more demanding? Separation anxiety could be to blame.
Plenty of research over the last 2 years have shown one clear fact: dogs were the knights in shining armor for many humans during the pandemic. In a time of isolation, loneliness, and quarantining, so many people turned to their beloved K-9 family members.
And while we are so thankful for their companionship during this time, many of us have been called back to work, once again leaving our furry friends at home and causing separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety can come in many different forms, but for dogs, it’s usually destructive, including:
- Urinating and defecating when they’re alone or separated from you. If it happens when you’re home, it likely isn’t caused by separation anxiety.
- Barking and howling when he’s alone. If it’s persistent barking/howling, and doesn’t seem to be at anything (the Amazon delivery driver, the mailman, etc.), separation anxiety is likely to blame.
- Chewing, digging or tearing up objects, doors, or household objects. This is especially dangerous because your beloved pup can end up breaking teeth, scraping paws, or damaging their nails.
- Pacing in circular patterns or walking back and forth in straight lines.
Any change in your dog’s behavior can be concerning, especially if it’s out of the norm for them. In addition to speaking with your vet, there are a few other things you can try to help your pup.
- Give them a safe space. Does your dog have a beloved room he likes to relax in? Does he prefer the snuggly space of a bed or his crate? Make sure he has access to his safe space to retreat to when you have to leave.
- Tire him out. If you can, tire your pup out before you have to leave the house. Head to the dog park, outside for a walk, or a quick game of fetch. If you’re able to give him at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity before you leave, he may be able to rest and relax while you are gone.
- Make mealtime fun. Dogs are natural hunters, so sending them on a hunt for some morning or afternoon kibble is fun! Sprinkle small piles of his food around the house when you leave, so he has to “hunt” for his meal.
- Scavenger hunt. You probably already know (and own!) a bunch of food puzzle toys. Kick them up a notch! Freeze peanut butter or chicken broth in a toy, so he has to actively think about how to get it out. It’ll tire him out mentally and physically – just make sure he has a spot to go to that you won’t mind getting messy.
- Gentle calming chews. An over-the-counter calming chew like our Swaggy Tails Hemp Calming Chews is a great way to help your dog feel safe and relaxed, without feeling like you’re medicating your dog. Look for a chew that has ingredients like hemp powder, which may help with external stressors and L-Tryptophan, which increases brain levels of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin.
Swaggy Tails Hemp Calming Chews can help reduce stress and tension due to storms, grooming, travel, separation anxiety, and more. Learn more about how these calming chews can help your pup be their best self.