It’s been a long day: You get home from work to be greeted by your best fur-friend, who is VERY excited to see you! What’s around the corner might be exciting for the wrong reasons though. While you were gone, your fur-buddy got a little anxious and ripped up your brand new pair of shoes! UGH! There are also some “gifts” on the floor. Why would your dog, who is normally very well trained and behaved, make such a mess?! They REALLY missed you.
Many experts believe that when left alone, dogs with separation anxiety usually act out. This happens for about the first 45 minutes or so. But they can do some serious, out of character damage in that 45 minute period. How we interact with our pets before we leave can affect whether they get separation anxiety. Hopefully, we can help. It can also affect the severity of it. Take your dog out for a walk or to play in the yard. Get them some exercise to help relieve pent up energy. If you need to say goodbye to your dog, do it well before you leave. The 15 minutes or so before you leave; make the event no big deal to your dog. They are looking for a confident pack leader. Making these situations seem like no big deal will allow them to cope better.
In addition to calculated interactions with your dog, setting up a comforting environment is also very helpful. If you typically have ambient sound in your home such as TV or radio, leave one of them on when you leave. This allows the environment to be similar to what they are used to. Also, as we know, dogs identify us by, and seem to love our scent. So, when you leave, give them an old t-shirt or piece of clothing with your scent on it. This will help keep them calm in those first minutes when you are away.
There are also many products on the market. These include treats, water additives, clothing, and accessories to help with separation anxiety. Sometimes these items can be a bit of a crapshoot because not every dog is alike. So sadly, you end up trying quite a few items until one works.
However, there are two traditional products that seem to be useful (when used right) for most dogs. The first is a simple Kong toy (Loaded with Riker’s Dog Treats of course). Kong toys and any toy your dog can become addicted to can help control separation anxiety when used as a true behavioral pattern. It’s similar to giving a pacifier to a baby, and can be VERY effective. The other item is called a ThunderShirt. They are a vest-like apparatus and at first glance it seems like this would be crazy. But these things work for about 80% of pets (they come in dog AND cat). Also very impressively they offer a money-back guarantee.
If you’re open to it, calming supplements might be the most effective remedy. Especially those that are Hemp-based with CBD. Hemp-based supplements with naturally-occurring CBD can immediately reduce your dog's anxiety. You can also use them daily to maintain a low level. When it comes to Hemp supplements, there are some nuances. Please consult with your dogs’ healthcare provider. At the very least, refer to our FAQ Page for more detailed information.
There's always a chance your pooch may have a medical issue. There may be a reason other than separation anxiety for them to act out. Please, try to always use great personal judgment for your dog and their situation. If you have any concerns about techniques or products, ALWAYS consult with your veterinarian or dog healthcare provider.