How to help your pup suffering with separation anxiety blues

dog separation anxiety

The last 12 months weren’t exactly stress-free. Communities were locked down, routines flipped on their head and diaries thrown out, but thankfully, there was one faithful there to remind us of the upside of spending more time at home – our pups. Many households previously without furry friends, recognised the golden opportunity to introduce a new family member, with shelters seeing record numbers of adoptions and in turn, helping to give pups around the country a second chance at a happy life. 

Now, as kids head back to school and offices reopen their doors, you might find your puppies, and even older pups, start to show symptoms of separation anxiety. It’s one of the most common behavioural issues seen in dogs. 

What is separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety is when pups show signs of distressing behaviour when they’re left alone. These behaviours can range from mild (only displaying symptoms when left alone for a long duration) to severe (can’t be left alone in a room even for a short period of time). Your pup’s separation anxiety might show up in different ways, with symptoms including: 

  • Excessive barking, howling or whining 
  • Destroying furniture 
  • Urinating or defecating inside when trained not to 
  • Pacing 
  • Constant trembling 
  • Attempting to escape  

What causes separation anxiety?

The causes aren’t fully understood, and it remains unclear why some pups experience separation anxiety, and others don’t. Some possible causes include:

  • Sudden change in schedule 
  • Lack of training and socialisation 
  • Being abandoned in the past 
  • Changes in the people around them 
  • Moving to a new house 
  • Personality type 

Puppies adopted during lockdown may be prone to separation anxiety, as they have likely become accustomed to you being at home and know no different. 

dog separation anxiety

How can you manage your dog’s separation anxiety?

If you think your dog might be taking your absences particularly hard, there are a number of  strategies you can try to help relieve their stress: 

  • Offer lots of exercise and playtime when you’re home 
  • Remain calm when leaving and returning to the home 
  • Practice leaving your pup for long and short absences 
  • Associate anxiety triggers with a positive experience  
  • Leave pups with high-value treats and toys 
  • Create a comfortable environment 
  • Consider doggy daycare, a pet sitter or dog walker 

Remember, you can always speak to your vet or a behaviourist if you’re still having trouble solving these issues on your own, as it can be challenging. An integrative vet can look at your dog’s health through a holistic lens and check if the anxiety is affecting other aspects of their physical health, as well. 

Ideally, you want to reinforce positive behaviours when your dog is still a puppy, but rest assured, with a little patience and understanding, it’s still possible to help older dogs suffering from separation anxiety, too. 

How can your dog’s diet help?

Studies have shown that dogs with high stress levels can benefit from diets containing L-tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to increase serotonin levels. Turkey, chicken, eggs, lamb and beef all contain this amino acid. 

It might also help to avoid feeding your pup foods with high-GI carbohydrates, as they can cause blood sugar spikes and affect their overall mood.  

Why Lyka is great for dogs with separation anxiety

Lyka’s recipes have the key ingredients that not only meet nutritional requirements, but also support serotonin levels, helping to keep your pupper happy and healthy.  

It’s also reassuring to know that Lyka meals don’t contain any high-GI carbohydrates like potatoes, rice and corn.  

Lyka’s healthy, freshly cooked meals are crafted to give your pupper exactly what they need to live their best life. 
 
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