How to Help Your Dog with Separation Anxiety - Tips and Tricks

How to Help Your Dog with Separation Anxiety - Tips and Tricks

Separation anxiety in dogs is a common but distressing condition that can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. It's characterized by extreme anxiety and distress when a dog is left alone or separated from their primary caregiver.

In this comprehensive guide we will look at proven strategies and tips for managing and alleviating separation anxiety in dogs – ensuring a better quality of life for your friend.

Let’s dive in!

Understanding Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety in dogs can be a challenge for both the pet and the owner. However, with proper understanding and attention you can help significantly improve your dog’s quality of life.

This section will provide a detailed look at what separation anxiety entails and the common causes behind it.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety occurs when a dog becomes excessively anxious or exhibits problematic behaviors when left alone. Common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs includes:

  • Barking, howling, or whining excessively when left alone.
  • Destructive behaviors such as chewing furniture, digging, or scratching doors and windows.
  • Urinating or defecating indoors despite being house-trained.
  • Pacing, drooling, or panting excessively.

Can Separation Anxiety Cause Seizures in Dogs?

While separation anxiety itself does not directly cause seizures in dogs, severe anxiety and stress can potentially exacerbate underlying conditions that might lead to seizures. Stress and anxiety can have various physiological effects on a dog, including increasing cortisol levels and altering brain chemistry, which can contribute to seizure activity in dogs predisposed to epilepsy or other seizure disorders.

Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

There are a number of factors that can contribute to separation anxiety in dogs, including:

  • Change in Routine: Sudden changes in a dog's routine, such as a change in the owner's work schedule, can trigger anxiety.
  • Past Trauma: Dogs that have experienced traumatic events, such as abandonment or a significant change in living environment, may develop separation anxiety.
  • Lack of Socialization: Dogs that have not been adequately socialized or have had limited exposure to being alone may struggle with separation.

Strategies to Help Your Dog with Separation Anxiety

Managing separation anxiety in dogs requires a multi-faceted approach, combining environmental adjustments, behavioral training, and sometimes professional help.

Let’s take a look at some strategies you can try to improve your dog's separation anxiety and improve their overall well-being.

Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment

A comfortable and secure environment can help alleviate a dog's anxiety. Consider the following tips:

  • Designated Safe Space: Create a designated safe space for your dog, such as a crate or a specific room where they feel secure.
  • Comfort Items: Provide comfort items like a favorite blanket, toys, or an item of clothing that smells like you.
  • Calming Music: Playing calming music or leaving the television on can provide background noise that helps reduce anxiety.

Gradual Desensitization

Gradual desensitization involves slowly accustoming your dog to being alone. Here's how to do it:

  • Short Absences: Start by leaving your dog alone for short periods, gradually increasing the duration over time.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats and praise when they remain calm during your absence.
  • Practice Exits: Practice leaving and returning home without making a big fuss, as overly dramatic exits and arrivals can increase anxiety.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Ensuring your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce anxiety levels.

  • Daily Exercise: Regular walks, playtime, and physical activity can help tire your dog out and reduce anxiety.
  • Interactive Toys: Provide interactive toys and puzzles that keep your dog mentally engaged and distracted when you're away.
  • Training Sessions: Incorporate training sessions that challenge your dog's mind and reinforce positive behavior.

Will Getting a Second Dog Help with Separation Anxiety?

Many dog owners wonder if getting a second dog might help alleviate their first dog's separation anxiety. While adding another dog to your household can provide companionship and may reduce feelings of loneliness for your anxious dog, it is not a guaranteed solution and can sometimes introduce new challenges.

Professional Training and Behavior Modification

If your dog's separation anxiety is severe, you should consider seeking professional help. A few options you can consider include:

  • Certified Dog Trainer: A certified dog trainer can provide personalized training plans and techniques to manage separation anxiety.
  • Animal Behaviorist: An animal behaviorist can offer specialized insight and strategies tailored to your dog's specific needs.
  • Veterinarian: In extreme cases, a veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication to help manage your dog's anxiety.

Products and Resources to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

There are a number of products and resources that you can utilize to help your dog’s separation anxiety – let’s take a look at a few you might want to consider.

Calming Products

There are several products that are designed to help calm dogs with separation anxiety. These products can be effective in creating a more relaxed and stress-free environment for your pet which in turn means a happier pup.

Here are some of our favorites!


A Thundershirt provides gentle, constant pressure that can have a calming effect on anxious dogs. This pressure can mimic the sensation of being held or swaddled, which can be comforting for many dogs.

The Thundershirt is often used during stressful situations such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or when the dog is left alone, helping to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.


Adaptil diffusers and collars release pheromones that mimic those produced by a nursing mother dog, promoting a sense of calm and security. These pheromones can help alleviate stress and anxiety in dogs by creating a familiar and comforting environment.

Adaptil products are especially useful during periods of change or when introducing a new environment to your dog, making them feel more at ease.


Some dog owners find that CBD oil helps reduce their dog's anxiety. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound derived from hemp that has been shown to have calming effects. It can help reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve overall well-being.

However, it's important to always consult with a veterinarian before using CBD products to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your dog's specific needs.

Pet Matrx Calming Supplement & Calming Spray

Pet Matrx Cognitive & Calming Supplement for Dogs is designed to help reduce anxiety and stress in dogs through natural ingredients that promote relaxation and cognitive health. This supplement often contains a blend of herbs, vitamins, and minerals that work together to support your dog's nervous system and help them stay calm.

There is also a fast-acting dog calming spray that can be used to help your dog relax quickly in any situation. Regular use of Pet Matrx can be an effective way to help manage your dog’s acute and chronic anxiety without the use of medication.

Support Networks

A great resource to help manage your dog’s separation anxiety can sometimes be right in your backyard. Connecting with other dog owners and professionals can provide additional support in the form of:

  • Online Communities: Join online forums or social media groups where you can share experiences and gain insights from other dog owners dealing with separation anxiety.
  • Local Support Groups: Look for local support groups or training classes that focus on separation anxiety and behavioral issues.

Preventing Separation Anxiety: Tips for New Dog Owners

If you're a new dog owner or have a puppy, taking proactive steps can help prevent separation anxiety from developing. Here are a few strategies you will want to consider.

Early Socialization

Getting your puppy to socialize early can be crucial in preventing separation anxiety. Slowly introduce your puppy to various environments, people, and experiences in a controlled and positive manner – the key being controlled and positive.

Independence Training

Teach your dog to be comfortable with being alone from a young age:

  • Alone Time: Encourage your puppy to spend short periods alone, gradually increasing the time as they grow more comfortable.
  • Crate Training: Crate training can provide a safe and secure space for your dog and help them feel more comfortable when alone.

Consistent Routine

Just like many of us with our own schedules, maintaining a consistent routine can help reduce separation anxiety in your dog.

  • Feeding Schedule: Stick to a regular feeding schedule to create predictability.
  • Exercise Routine: Ensure your dog gets regular exercise at the same times each day.
  • Training Sessions: Incorporate consistent training sessions to reinforce positive behavior and build confidence.

How to Help a Dog with Separation Anxiety: Final Thoughts

Dealing with a dog that has separation anxiety can be challenging, but with patience, consistency, and the right strategies, it is possible to manage and alleviate this condition.

Just remember these simple tips.

  • Create a safe environment
  • Practice gradual desensitization
  • Provide ample exercise and mental stimulation
  • Seek professional help when needed

Remember, every dog is unique, so be patient and over time you can find the best approach for your furry friend. For further reading and resources, visit reputable sites such as the American Kennel Club and ASPCA.

While we strive to provide helpful insights for dog owners the information provided on this blog is intended for general knowledge and informational purposes only. Please consult your veterinarian with any concerns regarding your dog's specific needs, medical conditions, and before implementing any diet, supplement, or exercise changes based on information found on this site.