Separation Anxiety in Dogs | Dog Separation Anxiety | Pet Palace

Separation Anxiety in Dogs: Signs, Causes, and Strategies for Preventing It

separation anxiety in dogs

Separation anxiety is the fear of being left alone and the unknown that follows, and it can pose challenges for both dogs and their owners. We empathize with the difficulty of leaving a pet who struggles with being left alone, which is why we’ve compiled essential information below to recognize, prevent and address this issue.

Understanding Dog Separation Anxiety

Dog separation anxiety can be a major concern for pet owners. You need to be able to leave your house regularly without worrying that it will negatively affect your pet. Discovering what causes separation anxiety and the signs to look out for will help you address this issue effectively.

What Causes This Anxiety?

There are many factors that can lead to separation anxiety, such as the breed of dog in question, as some are more prone to anxiety than others. Another factor is your dog’s personality, as some dogs are naturally more independent than others. Additionally, some external influences that may lead to this anxiety include:

  • Poor socialization as a young puppy
  • A dog never being left alone in their formative years
  • Changes in family members or pets (new addition, death, etc.)
  • History of actual abandonment from previous owners
  • A traumatic event has happened (a move, big change, etc.)

Common Signs of Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs can manifest in many ways and it’s essential you recognize these signs before they worsen or escalate into more severe behavioral issues. Some of the common signs to look out for that may indicate anxiety include:

  • Barking, crying or howling – Vocalization is a big indicator when dogs are feeling anxious. If your dog is whining or howling in a frantic way when you leave, that is a sign of dog separation anxiety.
  • Destructive behavior – When in distress, dogs can turn that anxiety into destructive behavior. This can include chewing on objects or destroying any household objects when left alone. This is definitely a concern for pet owners since these behaviors are not only problematic, but they could lead to injury.
  • Fecal or urinary incontinence – If your dog is fully potty trained and they urinate or defecate when left alone or when separated, it’s probably because of separation anxiety. Similar to humans, dogs can get nervous to the point that they lose bladder and bowel control, so keeping stressful situations to a minimum is key.
  • Pacing – When separated from their guardian, some pets will pace either in straight lines or circular patterns, showcasing classic symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs.
  • Escaping – Some dogs with anxiety will engage in an escape behavior when left alone without their owner. Not only is there the concern that they could hurt themselves, but they could also get lost depending on where you’re leaving them.

Tips for Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Dogs are social creatures and love to be surrounded by us much of the time. While we always love to be with our furry friends, it’s important that they receive some alone time, as a lack of it can worsen separation anxiety in dogs.

By addressing the anxiety head on and getting past it, you can leave your house peacefully knowing your dog is comfortable and happy alone at home. Below are some tips that we’ve found can help treat or possibly prevent this type of behavior.

Provide Enrichment

Enrichment toys are a great way to teach your pets to entertain themselves, and they’re ideal for managing dog separation anxiety, as they provide mental stimulation, comfort, and distraction during alone time.

Use Crate Training

One way you can help or possibly prevent separation anxiety is crate training. You can start by giving your dog a long-lasting treat in the crate so they will be excited to go in there. Over time, they’ll start to associate their crate with rest, sleeping, and eating, soothing any anxiety they feel when you’re gone.


Your dog should be receiving exercise every day regardless, but if you can get your dog’s energy out before you leave the house, they’ll be tired and less anxious. A dog who is well-exercised and stimulated is more likely to be better behaved when you step out of the house.

Maintain a Routine

Dogs love a consistent routine so helping them understand what to expect will help them not be blindsided when you have to be away. Setting a morning routine for them before you have to leave for eating, walking, and going outside will help prepare them for your departure.

Practice Leaving Quietly

You want to avoid making your exit a dramatic event as it could stress your pet out and ultimately intensify separation anxiety in dogs. The goal is to not draw attention or make a big deal when you’re getting ready to leave. When it’s time to go, give them their treat and walk out the door.

Create a Safe Space

Everybody loves to have a cozy spot and dogs are no different. You want to create a space for your dog where they feel comfortable and protected. It could possibly be a crate, a back room, or their favorite couch to relax on while you’re gone. Remember, you want to create a happy space, so be sure to leave them with their favorite toy or treat to enjoy.

FAQs on Dog Separation Anxiety

Can puppies experience separation anxiety?

Most definitely they can. While it may not be very common, there is a period of time where they may become more attached to their owners and separation anxiety could develop.

Does crate training help with this anxiety?

Crate training can definitely be a vital tool when it comes to managing dog separation anxiety or preventing it completely. If introduced properly, the crate will act as a safe space when they are left alone and going to it will become a positive experience for them.

Is it possible to outgrow dog separation anxiety?

Some dogs may be able to outgrow separation anxiety as they grow older and become more confident. Other severe cases typically require management strategies to improve.

Can separation anxiety in dogs be managed without professional help?

In mild cases, you may be able to manage symptoms through behavior modification techniques and consistent training. However, in severe cases where your pet is not responding to this at home, you may need to seek professional help.

Allow Pet Palace to Give Your Dog Some Company

If you’d rather avoid leaving your dog alone, our team at Pet Palace is more than happy to keep them company while you’re away. We are here to provide companionship and alleviate any possible dog separation anxiety.

Through our customized care, your dog will feel right at home. Whether you are going on vacation or are just off to work, we offer dog boarding services and day care for you. This is the best way to ensure that your dog is getting the attention and care they deserve throughout the day.

By choosing Pet Palace, you’ll reap a variety of benefits that include:

  • Custom pricing – You only pay for what your pet needs and nothing more. Our à la carte pricing means you get more control over what services your pet receives while in our care.
  • 24-hr Pet Safe Program – We have safe and secure accommodations overseen by experienced team members at all times.
  • Spacious and clean facilities – Every pet at our facility gets lots of space to move around. Additionally, bedding and water are changed daily.
  • High staff-to-pet ratio – Our high ratio means that we can stick to that daily routine that is so important in dealing with dog separation anxiety. We can ensure that your pet is fed at certain times, distribute medication, and customize your pet’s experience to meet any needs.
  • Supervised outdoor play and potty breaks – Dogs are routinely taken outdoors by our trained staff members for playtime and human interaction.

Lastly, we offer webcam access for select suites so that you can check on your furry friend at any time while you’re away.

Contact Us to Book Today

If you’re wanting to learn more about our services and what makes Pet Palace the ideal environment for your pet when you can’t be there, contact our team today. With our unique model designed with your pet’s comfort in mind, you can have peace of mind while you’re away.

Lora Shaw

About the author

Lora Shaw

Lora Shaw is currently the Vice President of Operations at Pet Palace.

Categories: All Posts, Dogs, Tips for Your Pets