You may have gotten a new puppy and suddenly no longer have shoes without chew marks. You may feel guilty every time you leave the house because you can hear your dog whining through the door. Things may even have escalated to the point that your neighbors are leaving angry notes about your dog barking and howling all day long.
Separation anxiety is hard for you and your dog. It can be frustrating to try to find the best way to help your dog overcome their anxiety. While you can (and certainly, should) work with a trainer, you may find that you need something beyond behavioral training to help calm your dog.
Some trainers and veterinarians may recommend medication for your dog’s anxiety. We understand that many pet parents aren’t yet ready to make that change. If you want to try some more natural options first, we’ve got you! These are some natural remedies that you can use in addition to training to help your dog feel less anxious while you’re away.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is one of the most common complaints of dog owners. Dogs can suffer from anxiety for a number of reasons. It isn’t exclusive to dogs that are new to the family. Moving, stress, aging, and sudden household changes can all be triggers for separation anxiety.
Some of the common symptoms of separation anxiety include:
- Urinating and defecating in inappropriate places by an otherwise potty trained dog.
- Barking and howling while you are away.
- Destruction. An anxious dog may dig at the door, chew furniture, shred paper, and just create general havoc.
- Pacing. This can be hard to spot because pacing due to separation anxiety will only occur while you aren’t home.
- Escape attempts.
- Depression when they see you getting ready to leave.
- Overexcited behavior when you get home.
The most important part of handling separation anxiety is practicing patience. Changes won’t happen overnight. You will need to be consistent with training and identify any underlying problems that may be causing your dog’s anxiety.
Natural Anxiety Remedies
If you think your dog is suffering from anxiety, speak to your veterinarian. You will need to rule out any medical issues that can create similar symptoms.
Your vet may have training tips or be able to recommend a behaviorist or trainer who can help you.
You can also talk to them about things that you can do to help ease your dog’s anxiety. There are ways to help manage your dog’s anxiety without using medications.
Essential oils can be introduced through topical application in bath products, like these bath bombs for dogs. You can also introduce them through aromatherapy. You can use a whole-house diffuser to release Zen Puppy, our special blend of roman chamomile and lavender, through your home.
You can get a small diffuser to clip to your dog’s collar. Your dog will be able to experience anti-anxiety aromatherapy with the Zen Puppy oil blend wherever she goes!
Experiment to see which types of music your dog responds to. Your dog might prefer jazz to soft-rock. Some dogs may even be soothed by the sound of conversation in a podcast.
Do not use CBD products designed for human use. Make sure any products you use are canine-specific and that the company you purchase from is transparent about their research and sourcing.
We can’t smell them, but pheromone diffusers may help reduce your dog’s anxiety. The pheromone that these diffusers release is the one produced by nursing mother dogs to help settle her puppies. It can have the same effect on anxious adult dogs.
If you are using dry herbs, it is easiest to make them into tea. To give herbal tea to your dog, simply brew it as you would for a regular cup, let it cool, and mix it in with her food. As always, speak to your vet about proper dosing.
You may find that a combination of methods is what you need to help your dog overcome his separation anxiety. What is effective with one dog may not work for another, so don’t be afraid of some trial and error.
The most important part of helping manage your dog’s separation anxiety is patience. Your dog senses your stress, and this will affect her behavior. If you can stay calm, it will go a long way in helping your dog realize your home is a sanctuary, even if you aren’t there.If you want to learn more about essential oil use for dogs, check out our blog here.