Easing the Anxiety: Top Five Tips for Calming Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Posted on June 15 2021

Separation anxiety is something that many dog owners are all too familiar with. Numerous factors can lead to a dog experiencing this anxiety, including being left alone for the first time or experiencing a traumatic event. Additionally, many dogs are showing signs of anxiety now that their owners are leaving their homes more often after spending much of the past year at home. They’ve become accustomed to seeing their owners 24/7 – and it might take some time to settle into this new routine of being left alone! If your dog is dealing with separation anxiety, here are a few things you can do to put them at ease as you go about your day.

Get Out and Play Before You Leave

A worn out dog is less likely to cause any trouble when you're away. Help your dog release pent up energy and get into a more restful mode by getting in some exercise before you head out the door. This should help make them calmer when it’s finally time for you to depart!

Give Them a Distraction

A few minutes before you leave your home, give your dog a puzzle toy that will keep their mind busy. This will divert their attention so that they’re more focused on the task at hand and less focused on you heading out the door.

Leave Behind a Worn Piece of Clothing

Scent is powerful, and can be useful in easing your dog’s anxiety when you leave the house. Research has shown scents from humans that dogs are familiar with activate a part of their brain that is associated with positive expectations. With that in mind, leaving behind something that can remind your dog of you may help ease their anxiety while you’re out of the house. Before you depart, give your dog a piece of clothing that you’ve worn recently and has your scent on it to help calm them down.

Keep Calm When You Leave and Return

It’s important to establish the idea that you leaving home is not a momentous, terrifying event – it’s just a part of your (and your dog’s) normal routine! In order to help normalize your leaving, keep your greetings minimal and as emotionless as possible. As you’re leaving, stay calm and don’t make a big fuss out of saying goodbye. When you return, ignore your pup (as hard as it may be!) and wait until they calm down before giving them any attention. This will help establish that it’s not a big deal when you need to leave.

Switch Up Your Departure Routine

Your dog will start to pick up on cues that signal you’re getting ready to leave – such as putting your work bag by the door or picking up your keys. These parts of your routine can start to work them up in a nervous panic. Mixing up your routine can help stop your dog from associating certain cues with you leaving. For example, put your keys in your pocket but then go eat your breakfast, or leave your home out of a different door. These changes will give your dog less of an opportunity to work themselves up into a panic!

Caring for Your Dog – Mentally and Physically

Taking care of your dog's mental wellbeing (and finding the right way to deal with their separation anxiety) is incredibly important. That said, it is just as vital that you pay attention to their physical health, as well. That’s why we created Top Shelf Dog. Our all-natural, human-grade dog food is fortified with the vitamins and minerals your dog needs to live a full, happy, and healthy life. That way, you know you’re taking complete care of your dog – from the inside out.