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One of the most common issues new owners face is separation anxiety in puppies.
Every puppy will express its anxiety in a unique way, and as a puppy owner, you will need to watch for different cues to be aware of.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Puppies
The signs of separation anxiety in puppies can be very obvious, yet sometimes subtle, so let’s go over different symptoms:
- Overeating or undereating (some other reasons your puppy isn’t eating can be found HERE.)
- Pacing in circles or straight lines
- Following you
- Chewing on their paws
- Itching or scratching constantly
- Peeing in the house after being potty trained
- Drooling excessively, panting, trembling
- Chewing things destructively (Here’s some ways to discourage destructive chewing HERE.)
- Diarrhea or vomiting
Some of these issues may be caused by things other than separation anxiety in puppies, so always be sure to check with your veterinarian if you’re worried.
How To Help Seperation Anxiety in Puppies
There are many ways you can make separation anxiety a bit easier for your puppy, but the best way to deal with it is prevention. Everyone needs to work, so if you must leave your pup, try to prevent anxiety before you plan on leaving for longer periods of time.
Start Early And Go Gradually
When you first adopt your puppy, it is best to show them right away that it’s OK to be alone. Doing this gradually is the best way to prevent separation anxiety later. Start by leaving your pup in another room for a minute or two – working up to longer periods of time.
By ninety-minute stretches, your puppy should be OK with you having to go to work, just be sure to crate your puppy or leave them in a safe space.
Do not make a big deal out of coming and going.
Think like a puppy; if you come home excited and happy, your puppy will associate your homecoming as a great reward and then anticipate it, getting anxious when it doesn’t happen quickly. The more mundane you are, the less likely it will become a big experience for your pup.
Tips For Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Puppies
- Put your coat on or do things your puppy might associate with leaving, but instead, stay at home.
- Give your puppy less attention than usual ten to twenty minutes before leaving; do not fuss over them.
- Give your puppy a Kong filled with peanut butter or other food enrichment toys to help associate your leaving with treats.
- Purchase a Thunder jacket to ease puppy anxiety.
- Leave a TV or radio on to give the illusion of someone being home.
- Crate training can provide a safe space for your puppy, providing a protective enclosure for them. Find out more about crate training HERE.
- Purchase puzzle toys to keep your puppy busy while you’re away.
- Increase your puppy’s daily exercise right before leaving them.
- Enroll your puppy in obedience classes to gain confidence.
- Train ‘out of sight stay’ with your puppy as a behaviour to help build confidence and understand you’ll be coming back.
If you feel you have tried everything and none of it seems to work, speak with your veterinarian. In extreme situations, your vet may recommend medication or be able to provide you a contact for a local behaviourist to help with separation anxiety in puppies.