Is your dog destructive or disruptive when left alone? He or she may be suffering from separation anxiety. It’s one of the most common concerns of pet owners and affects over 13 million dogs just in the US. 

As loving dog owners, we suffer when our pets are suffering. Read on to learn more about separation anxiety, how to tell if your dog may be suffering, how to diagnosis and drug-free treatment options. 

What is separation anxiety?

First, separation anxiety should not be confused with bad behavior. Typically, if your pup shows signs of distress when you get ready to walk out the door, such as excessive drooling or being overanxious, he or she may be suffering from separation anxiety. 

Keep in mind, dogs love pleasing their parents. Many are attached at the hip. So, when they become separated from you, it can cause a great amount of anxiety. 

Common signs to look for:

  • Aggressiveness when attempting to leave
  • Anxiousness
  • Depression
  • Prevention (literally blocking the door)
  • Barking or crying upon leaving
  • Overexcitement upon arriving home

Other factors that may indicate your dog has separation anxiety:

  • Persistent barking or howling
  • Urinating or defecating when left alone (referring to housetrained pups)
  • Destruction (chewing on windows, doors, walls, furniture, etc)
  • Escape tactics (as with destruction, this can lead to self-injury)
  • Pacing 

Why do some dogs have separation anxiety, and others do not?

This is quite the million-dollar question. Some studies have found that shelter dogs tend to be more prone to separation anxiety, compared to other dogs. Other indicators have also been linked to this issue:

  • Abandoned
  • Death of owner
  • Rehoming
  • Schedule changes
  • A recent move


It is important to be sure that your pup has no underlying medical conditions that may cause some of the behaviors indicated above. For example, if your pup is urinating while you are away, be sure it is not an incontinence issue. 

In addition, rule out behavior issues. For example, your pup may urinate just from the excitement of seeing you return home, or has yet to be fully house trained. 

How to treat separation anxiety

There are many treatments available to help your dog with separation anxiety. Some include behavior modification programs and drug therapy. 

One possible solution is through counterconditioning. This is where you associate a prior “bad” with something “good.” 

Basically, every single time you leave, you now reward them with a treat. Maybe, their favorite bone. They will then become conditioned to your leaving with a positive reinforcement. 


At Independence Veterinarian Clinic, we care for your fur babies as if they were our own. When we happen upon a product or service that is beneficial to your pet, we love to share. 

Recently, we became acquainted with The Calmer Canine device. WE APPROVE!

One of the things we love most about this device…it is a drug-free solution for dogs with separation anxiety. No prescription is required and the customer reviews indicate just how much this device has impacted dog owners lives for the good. 

The Device

  • Recommended two daily treatments for about six weeks
  • Battery-operated
  • Easy to use
  • Can purchase with, or without a vest
  • Available in all sizes

For more interested pet topics from all of us at Independence Veterinarian Clinic, click here!

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