What are the Signs of a Dog or Puppy with Separation Anxiety?

So, What are the signs of a dog or puppy with separation anxiety? Separation anxiety is a common issue among dogs and puppies, and it can be distressing for both the pet and the owner. This article delves into the world of canine separation anxiety, exploring the signs, causes, and solutions to help you and your furry friend cope with this challenging condition.


You’ve just returned home after a long day at work, excited to see your four-legged companion. But as you open the door, you’re greeted by a scene of chaos – your once calm and composed pup has transformed into a whirlwind of destruction. Chewing on the furniture, barking incessantly, and leaving a trail of torn-up pillows in their wake. What you’re witnessing is likely a classic case of separation anxiety.

In this guide, we’ll dissect the telltale signs of separation anxiety in dogs and puppies, helping you understand what’s going on in their furry minds. We’ll also explore the potential causes, how to manage this condition, and tips for prevention. Let’s get into: What are the signs of a dog or puppy with separation anxiety?

The Signs of Separation Anxiety

Before we address the issue, it’s essential to recognize the signs that your dog or puppy might be suffering from separation anxiety. These signs may vary from one pet to another, but here are some common indicators:

1. Destructive Behavior

Chewing, digging, or scratching: Dogs with separation anxiety may vent their stress by damaging your belongings. If you’ve come home to gnawed furniture legs or scratched doors, it’s a possible sign.

2. Excessive Vocalization

Barking or howling: Your neighbors might not appreciate a canine opera in your absence. Excessive barking or howling can be a clear sign of distress.

3. House Soiling

Accidents indoors: House-trained dogs suddenly having “accidents” may be signaling their emotional turmoil.

4. Pacing and Restlessness

Constant movement: An anxious dog may display restlessness, pacing around the house, unable to settle.

5. Clinginess

Shadowing you: While it’s endearing when your pet is affectionate, excessive clinginess can be an indicator of separation anxiety.

6. Escape Attempts

Houdini-style escapes: Desperate to reunite with you, some dogs will go to great lengths to escape their confinement.

7. Loss of Appetite

Refusal to eat: A dog suffering from separation anxiety may lose interest in food when alone.

8. Hypersalivation

Excessive drooling: Dogs can salivate excessively when anxious, resulting in puddles of drool around the house.

9. Self-Mutilation

Biting or licking themselves: Compulsive self-grooming can be a manifestation of stress in dogs.

10. Potty Problems

Frequent urination or diarrhea: Anxiety can lead to irregular bowel habits in your pet.

These signs are your dog’s way of expressing their emotional turmoil when you’re not around. If you’ve observed a combination of these behaviors, it’s time to address the issue.

Common Causes of Separation Anxiety

Understanding the root causes of separation anxiety is crucial in helping your furry friend. Some of the key factors that may trigger this condition include:

1. Change in Routine

Disrupted schedules: Dogs thrive on routine. A sudden change in your daily schedule can lead to confusion and anxiety.

2. Past Trauma

Rescue dogs: Dogs that have been through a traumatic experience may be more prone to separation anxiety.

3. Over-Attachment

Overly attached owners: If your dog is overly attached to you, they might find it challenging to cope when you’re not present.

4. Lack of Socialization

Limited exposure: Dogs that haven’t been adequately socialized as puppies can develop anxiety when left alone.

5. Confinement Issues

Crate or pen anxiety: Some dogs may associate confinement in a crate or pen with being abandoned.

Managing Separation Anxiety

Now that you’ve identified the signs and potential causes of separation anxiety in your dog, it’s time to explore strategies to manage this condition. Here are some effective approaches:

1. Gradual Departures and Returns

Practice separation: Start with short departures and gradually increase the time your dog spends alone. This helps them get used to your absence.

2. Crate Training

Safe space: Create a positive association with a crate to give your dog a secure space when you’re away.

3. Desensitization

Change your routine: Change the cues that signal your departure, such as picking up keys or putting on your shoes, to reduce anxiety.

4. Medication and Supplements

Consult a vet: In severe cases, consult your vet about medications or supplements that can help manage anxiety.

5. Professional Help

Behaviorist or trainer: Consider seeking the assistance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

6. Interactive Toys and Puzzles

Mental stimulation: Keep your dog occupied with toys and puzzles that challenge their mind and reduce anxiety.

7. Calm Departures and Arrivals

Stay composed: Avoid making a fuss when leaving or returning home. Nonchalant arrivals and departures can help reduce your dog’s anxiety.

8. Comforting Items

Security objects: Leave comforting items, like your worn T-shirt, with your dog to help them feel closer to you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ 1: What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Separation anxiety in dogs is a psychological condition where dogs become extremely distressed when separated from their owners or left alone.

FAQ 2: Are Certain Breeds More Prone to Separation Anxiety?

While any breed can experience separation anxiety, some breeds, like Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, may be more prone to it.

FAQ 3: Can Separation Anxiety Be Cured?

In many cases, separation anxiety can be managed effectively with training and behavior modification, but it may not be entirely cured.

FAQ 4: How Long Can a Dog Be Left Alone with Separation Anxiety?

The duration a dog with separation anxiety can be left alone varies depending on the severity of the condition. Gradual training can extend this time.

FAQ 5: Is Medication Necessary for Treating Separation Anxiety?

Medication is considered when behavioral approaches alone are insufficient. Consult your vet for guidance.

FAQ 6: Can Puppies Have Separation Anxiety?

Yes, puppies can experience separation anxiety, especially if they were taken from their littermates and mother too early.


Recognizing the signs of separation anxiety in your dog is the first step in helping them cope with this distressing condition. By understanding the causes and implementing effective management strategies, you can improve your pet’s well-being and your peace of mind. Remember, patience and consistency are key when dealing with separation anxiety, and seeking professional guidance can make the journey smoother. With the right approach, you and your furry friend can navigate the challenges of separation anxiety together, strengthening your bond along the way.

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Cat Hocking

Having had dogs all of my life I have learnt so much and continue to learn more with each individual dog that enters our family. These amazing creatures can teach us so much! In the Dog Care Guru I share information, resources and accessories for our canine children.

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