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What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

separation anxiety in dogs

Separation anxiety is a real issue that can make it difficult for dogs to handle periods of solitude without getting anxious. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent separation anxiety in dogs and make sure they feel safe and secure.

In this article, we’ll discuss what separation anxiety is, what its signs are, and what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.

What is Dog Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety, whether in a puppy or an older dog, can become a major source of distress for both puppies and adult dogs. Pets feel uneasy due to their fear of being alone until they’re reunited with family members.

According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a renowned veterinary behaviorist, author, and founder of the Institute for Canine Behavior Studies, there are two types of separation anxiety.

Attachment disorder refers to dogs who are too connected to one person or to humans in general and respond when those persons are not there.

The other form is simply apprehension of being alone. Dodman likens it to something similar to claustrophobia. Dogs who suffer from this type of separation anxiety simply don’t want to be alone anywhere.

Signs of Dog Separation Anxiety

separation anxiety in dogs

Regardless of the specific type of separation anxiety your dog has, the symptoms are pretty much the same.

Barking and Howling

Separation anxiety in dogs often manifests as persistent yelping or howling when left alone.

When a dog is isolated or parted from their owner, they may experience severe stress. This can express itself through barking and wailing. Dogs that do this seem to be incited by nothing else but the absence of their guardian.

Drooling and Panting

Anxious dogs may start panting and drooling excessively. This is a sign of distress, and as pet owners, it’s our responsibility to look out for it.

Destructive Behavior

Separation anxiety in dogs can often manifest itself through destructive behavior. Examples include chewing things they aren’t supposed to, digging up the carpet, or scratching furniture.

Trying to Escape

Dogs with severe anxiety may even attempt to escape by digging and gnawing through doors or windows. This type of behavior can lead to serious injuries. This includes broken teeth, cut paws, and scraped nails.


Dogs with separation anxiety may also soil the house, either by urinating or defecating. It happens even with already potty-trained or house-trained dogs and is akin to a child throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their way.


Being alone is one thing, but being lonely is another. There will be times when you need to leave your dog at home, and separation anxiety can make it difficult for both of you.

As you can see, separation anxiety in dogs is a serious issue that can lead to destructive and dangerous behaviors. If your pup is suffering from this condition, you should take the necessary steps to help them overcome their anxiety.

With the right techniques and tools, you can help your pup manage their anxiety and enjoy better quality time together.

For more tips on how to take care of your dog, check out the PetFitness blog!

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