Managing Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
Has this time of physically distancing and the need to work from home caused dogs to become more dependant on us, and has it caused an increase in cases of separation anxiety?
Since March, our dogs have had us all to themselves. We’ve been home with them each and every minute of every single day. Whether it’s snuggling on the couch watching Netflix, or being the centre of attention on our Zoom calls, they are living the dream.
What’s Going Through Our Dog’s Mind?
Will our dogs think this is the new normal, having us home ALL the time?
Or, is your dog thinking “are my humans ever going to leave the house again, because I could really use some alone time.”
Even though I work from home, in the past, I would leave the house, and my dogs, on a regular basis. My dogs understood and were comfortable with this routine of being on their own.
Then Everything Changed
COVID-19 became a household word, restrictions, physical and social distancing was put into place.
Suddenly, I was no longer going out to meet friends, do errands, attend meetings, nor was I leaving my dogs alone.
As much as we joked how we would love to be full-time, stay at home dog parents, would doing so affect our dogs? Would dogs become dependant on us being there all the time? Would separation anxiety become an issue with our dogs?
Thanks to the Ontario Veterinarian Medical Association for this helpful video with tips to assist us in managing our dog’s stress and anxiety as we head back out to work.
Tips To Manage Stress And Anxiety In Dogs
Slowly transition our dogs as we head back to work outside the home.
- Go back to a routine of preparing and leaving for work, even for just a few moments each day
- Revert back to their regular (pre-stay at home) walks and feeding schedules
- Give positive reinforcement before leaving the home
- Slowly start and increase break times without your dog, – go for walks, work in a room they don’t have access to
- Introduce new toys and puzzles to keep your dog active
Extra Help To Reduce Dog’s Stress And Anxiety
Some dogs may have accidents, become destructive, bark excessively, even obsessively lick themselves when left home alone. Pheromone diffusers and calming supplements may help, but if your dog requires additional support for their stress and anxiety, be sure to speak with your veterinarian.
June 15, 2020
That is such a good idea, to re-establish the routine they had before. I am retired, but I regularly go out to volunteer, to do errands, etc., and the dogs are used to me coming and going. The times they have anxiety is when I take ONE to the vet, and leave the other two at home. Then there is some fretting.
June 15, 2020
The struggle is real here. With Felix nothing has changed; he basically stuck to his routine while I was home for 2 months… with Luna Loo, however, things have been a bit different. While those 2 months have done wonders for our relationship with eachother….She’s become even more obedient and loving with me – Dare I say, a velcro dog! She seems quite sad when I leave the house. Thankfully, they’re not alone for long – maybe a couple hours at most, but I’m thankful they have eachother…