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How to Avoid Separation Anxiety in Dogs

If you've spent more time at home your dog might have some difficulty when they're next left alone, this is how to avoid those problems.
Ryan Stone / Unsplash
With many now working from home, a lot more time is being spent with the world's pets. This is great, who doesn't love hanging out with their dogs? Most animals have been ecstatic to spend even longer with their friends, but this does raise the possibility that our dogs might not take the return to normal as well as you’d like.
Dogs aren't really going to understand that there are extenuating circumstances that have lead to round the clock cuddles, belly rubs, and playtime. Instead, they're going to think this is the new normal. After a little while, these pets are going to become quite accustomed to the constant company, making it all the worse when they have to return to entertaining themselves for a few hours a day.
Separation anxiety can be really difficult for dogs and it is an unfortunately common problem. If you indulge and spoil your dog, they might find the adjustment a little harder.
Thankfully though, there is some expert advice you can follow. There are some measures you can take to make sure your dog doesn't become too dependent on you while you're at home. This will help make sure they don't get worse separation anxiety once you finally leave.

What is Separation Anxiety?

While this kind of sad eyes are effective, the symptoms of separation anxiety can be even worse.While this kind of sad eyes are effective, the symptoms of separation anxiety can be even worse.
Justin Veenema / Unsplash
While this kind of sad eyes are effective, the symptoms of separation anxiety can be even worse.
Separation anxiety is a state of panic and stress for a dog that comes from being alone. Dogs bond with humans very well, and when they've separated from their friends they can have high levels of anxiety. This can be really distressing for your pet. Studies have found that a shocking number of dogs already struggle to cope when they’re left alone.
The common symptoms of separation anxiety include destructive behavior, barking, howling or crying, and even using the bathroom where they shouldn't. They can also tremble, pace, or vomit. This is all pretty unpleasant for your dog. So how do you avoid it?

Will Working from Home Make Separation Anxiety More Likely?

The big question for anyone with a dog while they're stuck at home is will this increase the chance of separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety can be distressing and lonely, but you can avoid scenes like this when your dog is back to having an empty house to themselves all.Separation anxiety can be distressing and lonely, but you can avoid scenes like this when your dog is back to having an empty house to themselves all.
Jackson Simmer / Unsplash
Separation anxiety can be distressing and lonely, but you can avoid scenes like this when your dog is back to having an empty house to themselves all.
Well, studies have found that when a dog's owner spends a lot more time at home for any reason, like a broken leg or some other problem, a dog becomes increasingly dependent on them and have a higher risk of separation anxiety when they’re eventually left alone.
This makes separation anxiety a problem that is likely to occur for a lot of the world's dogs soon. So what can you do?

How to Avoid Separation Anxiety

Your dog's long term health and happiness are really important, so some compromises might have been made. It is tempting to spend your time together spoiling your dog with constant attention, after all, what else are you going to be doing? However, it is important to keep things in check.
Your dog doesn't understand that this is temporary, so it is better to manage their expectations. Experts have recommended a few measures to keep your dog happy in the long run:
  • Don't Over-Indulge Them - It is tempting to give your dog whatever they want while you’re home with them, but try to keep up all the normal house rules.

  • Have Time Apart - You don't always need to be playing with your dog, make sure you both have time to rest on your own.

  • Spend Quality Time Together - The time that you spend with the dog should be based on building up their confidence. Fun games and positive reinforcement for mental stimulation are good ways to do this. Fetch, learning new tricks, or hiding toys for your dog to find are all fun games.

  • Encourage Separate Rest - After a few games with you for an afternoon, your dog should be encouraged to sleep in their own space. This should help them get used to sleeping without you around.

Dogs are a constant source of fun and most are doing a lot to lift their owner's spirits when they're stuck at home. Sometimes you have to think of their long-term health though. A little bit of work each day will help make sure your pet adjusts back to life on their own without too much anguish.