5 Natural Remedies For Canine Separation Anxiety
If you’ve ever owned a pup with separation anxiety, you know how brutal it can be. Between the physical damage to your property and your own anxiety at the thought of what might be waiting for you when you come home, it can really take its toll on your relationship with your dog.
Lots of situations trigger separation anxiety, and it goes without saying that it is not physically or mentally healthy for your dog, especially if he is recovering from IVDD or any illness or injury. Unfortunately some dogs will only respond to medication combined with major behavioral therapy… but luckily, most pups are very responsive to natural treatments. Before you panic at your dog’s panic, try these natural remedies and see if they help.
Just like exercise is an excellent stress reliever for humans, it helps your pup to combat stress as well. Physical activity can help dogs cope with stress in two ways: It stimulates the productions of serotonin, the feel-good chemical in the brain, and it gets rid of the pent-up energy and tension that can exacerbate anxiety. If at all possible, take your dog on a long walk or play a good game of fetch before you leave home. If nothing else, if he’s tired he’ll be less likely to fuss.
2. Leave your scent behind
You are your dog’s source of comfort, and it’s you that he misses when you’re gone. Sometimes leaving a recently worn shirt in his bed when you leave will soothe him. This should be used in conjunction with other methods, but it’s a great way to ease his mind.
3. Use Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP)
Since scents can calm a dog’s anxiety, another popular option is using DAP, synthetic chemicals based on a hormone produced by lactating female dogs that helps keep puppies calm. While it hasn’t been scientifically proven that DAP works in adult dogs, some people have seen great results in their pups. Talk to your vet if you think your dog might be a good candidate.
4. Leave plenty of distraction
Leave plenty of toys around your home for your dog to find (assuming he is not in early recovery from IVDD, of course). Hide a few toys in easy to find places. You can also leave a few hidden treats around the house for him to discover. If he’s distracted, he won’t get bored as quickly.
5. Try some dog-calming music
Many dog owners leave a TV or radio on when they leave home to help their dogs feel like they aren’t alone. But there is also specialized music that you can play that is specifically designed for anxious dogs. It’s called Through a Dog’s Ear, and it’s a selection of music intentionally arranged and recorded to provide easeful auditory assimilation.
Remember, it’s best not to make a big deal out of leaving or coming home if you dog has separation anxiety. As tempting as it may be to run excitedly to your four-legged friend and greet him warmly immediately, if you wait a couple of minutes, he’ll understand that his family coming and going is just a part of life.