Separation issues in dogs are a real challenge for many pet owners. It’s not uncommon for a dog to turn into a crazy dog and express some dismay or discomfort when its owner leaves them alone. These separation issues can range from minor behavior to more serious demonstrations of stress.
When your canine companion is experiencing separation issues, you often feel guilty for leaving them alone. But, for most people, staying with your pet every minute of every day is not a viable option. Instead, you need to help your pet feel confident and comfortable even when you have to go away.
To learn how to help a dog with separation issues, you need to understand what signs your dog will give you to show that they have separation stress, what causes them to behave like a crazy dog when you are away, and how you can support them and make both of your lives easier.
What Are Some Signs of Separation Issues in Dogs?
Dogs communicate with their behavior, and they will give you distinct stress signals to let you know how they feel. When these stress signals appear while you are gone, they probably indicate that your dog has separation issues. If your pet shows these behaviors while you’re home, separation probably isn’t the problem, and their stress might have another cause.
If you notice your pet having accidents, making excessive noise, clawing and chewing, or attempting to escape while you are gone, you might have a dog with separation issues.
Why Does My Dog Have Accidents in the House?
Urinating or defecating in the house is a common stress response in dogs that are struggling with being away from their owners. If your pet is perfectly potty trained when you are with them, but you come home to find they’ve gone to the bathroom inside, it might be a sign of dog separation issues.
Some dogs will also take part in a behavior called coprophagia (eating their excrement). This stress response is not uncommon in dogs, and your dog won’t do it in front of you, but you might find evidence of an accident that has been consumed while you were away. This behavior could be another indicator of separation stress.
If you have neighbors or a doggie cam, you might notice your pet howling, whining, or barking while you are away. Some pets will bark in protest at the very moment their owner leaves, but then the behavior will eventually stop. If your dog keeps it up and makes lots of vocal noise while you are away, they might be suffering from separation issues.
Have you come home to find the paint chewed away from a door frame or claw marks on a window sill? Or maybe you’ve found your favorite throw pillow destroyed, despite your dog’s plentiful collection of chew toys and usually good behavior. While it might be tempting to reprimand your dog for chewing, remember that this behavior is a communication tactic. They’re telling you, “I feel sad and worried while you’re away.”
If your dog is chewing, digging, or destroying things while you’re gone, they are likely suffering from separation issues. It’s important to get this behavior and your dog’s separation stress under control because obsessively digging and chewing can hurt your pet’s teeth, paws, and claws.
Dog Running Away
Wondering why dogs run away? If a dog feels separation stress, they might try to escape the yard or break out of the house and run away while you are gone. It makes sense that they would want to go search for you if their home is a scary place when you’re gone. This behavior communicates to you that your dog doesn’t feel safe at home if you aren’t there with them.
Crazy Dog and Separation Issues: Causes
The causes of separation issues in dogs are not known exactly, but a few theories suggest why your pup may be acting like a crazy dog. If your dog is demonstrating separation issues, it might be because of trauma from being abandoned, a sudden change in schedule, a new environment, or the loss of a loved one.
Abandoned Dog and Traumatic History
Pets adopted from rescue organizations or shelters are more likely to have separation issues than puppies who have no history of abandonment. If a dog has been left at home before and its owner never came back, it makes perfect sense that your departure would trigger them, too. A history of unreliable care or constantly changing guardians can cause a dog to demonstrate stress signals when its owner leaves.
Change in Daily Habits or Timing
Anyone who has heard the dinner-demanding bark at 5 PM knows that dogs have a sense of schedule and timing. They can fall into a routine in the same way people do. They expect their meals at certain times and even their daily walks. When your furry family member undergoes a dramatic schedule change, such as their owner suddenly leaving for eight hours a day to go back to the office after working from home for the past year, it can cause dog separation issues.
Moving to a New House
Moving is a common cause of separation issues in dogs. If you take your pet from their safe, well-known environment and place them somewhere new, they might feel very worried when you leave. Even if your dog has never demonstrated stress signals during separation before, they might start doing so after a move.
Loss of a Family Member
Your family, both human and pet members, is also your dog’s family. If another member disappears – maybe a senior pet dies, or a child goes off to college – it can trigger dog separation issues. In the same way, abandonment can trigger this stress for your dog; family member loss can leave your pet feeling insecure and fearful that you won’t return home.
Crazy Dog And Separation Issues: How To Help
If you discover your dog suffers from stress when you’re away, you’ll want to know how to help a dog with separation issues. Some of the best ways to support your pet when they’re experiencing this problem are with a calming wellness routine, additional exercise, a smaller space, and the addition of a substitute caregiver while you’re away.
Don’t forget to consult your veterinarian about how to help a dog with separation issues. They’ll have lots of ideas for how to help your pet cope with this difficult time.
CBD For Dogs: A Wellness Routine
Routine is key to assuaging signs of separation stress in dogs. Establish a consistent practice for each time you leave the house. This might include leaving your dog with tough chew toys for dogs or some recently worn clothes that smell like you. The routine should not be formal or significant – don’t make a big deal about leaving by giving your dog lots of love and kisses.
CBD for dogs makes a good addition to any pet’s wellness routine. Our CBD calming oil for dogs would be especially well-suited to a dog with separation issues because the added ingredient of melatonin will help your pooch feel more relaxed while you’re away. Another great calming option is our CBD calming chews for dogs, which feature L-tryptophan to support ease and tranquility.
Exercise With Your Dog
If your dog is beat from running laps or chasing the tennis ball, it will have less energy to expend on destructive stress behaviors. Stress separation in dogs can be mitigated sometimes by increasing your dog’s exercise regimen in a healthy way.
Keep Your Dog in a Smaller Space While You’re Gone
Rather than letting your dog roam the entire house while you’re away, they might be comforted by having a smaller space to spend their time. Try putting them in the guest room or kitchen while you’re away – not a place that’s too small, like a closet, but a room with tough chew toys and their comfort items where they can feel enclosed and safe and maybe even pretend that you’re in the other room!
Consider a Doggie Daycare or Dog Sitter
If other solutions don’t work, it might be time to consider that your pet can’t be left alone. This is why doggie daycares, boarding facilities, and dog sitters exist. There are many options for leaving your pet with another person while you’re away, and if you can’t improve your dog’s separation issues with other solutions, it might be time for this option.
Crazy Dog And Separation Issues: A Real Problem
Your dog is not trying to make your life more difficult with their separation issues. Separation issues in dogs are an authentic, scary experience for your pet, and it’s important that you approach their crazy dog struggle with compassion and love. There are many ways to help your pet stay happy and healthy, even while you’re away. Just like people, pets can grow and learn and make progress, so have faith that, together, you and your furry friend can tackle dog separation issues!