Natural Ways To Fight Separation Anxiety

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. 

dog suffering from separation anxiety natural ways to fight separation anxiety

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. 

  • Exercise- Dogs who are getting plenty of physical activity have less stress. A tired dog really is a happy dog. Under-exercised dogs have more anxiety because they have not been able to expend their excess energy. 

  • Mental Stimulation- A Kong, or another puzzle-treat toy, along with regular games can help your dog exercise their brain and in turn, reduce their anxiety. A lack of mental stimulation, especially in working breeds, can lead to stress caused by boredom and a lack of purpose. To help prevent anxiety, help your dog exercise his body and brain.

  • Essential Oils- Many essential oils have calming properties. Dog-safe oils can help soothe and destress your dog. Lavender and chamomile are dog-safe oils that may help anxiety symptoms. 

  • 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! 

  • Leave the Radio On- There are many studies that show the effects of music on anxiety. Playing some soft music while you are gone may help keep your dog relaxed when you aren’t at home.

  • 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. 

  • CBD Oil and Chews- CBD oil has shown some success as an anxiety treatment in dogs. You can find all-natural chews formulated for dogs as well as oils that can be added to their food. 

  • 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. 

  • Pheromone Diffusers- Pheromones are chemicals that are released in the air that can affect behaviors in animals and people. Specific pheromones affect specific behaviors.

  • 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. 

  • Supplements- Look for chews containing ingredients like zylkene, which is a protein that occurs naturally in milk, L-tryptophan, an amino acid found in meat and eggs, and L-theanine which is found in mushrooms and green tea. These have been shown to be effective at helping anxiety in some dogs. Zylkene has been shown to be especially helpful for seniors! 

  • dog sleeping natural ways to fight separation anxiety

  • Herbal Remedies- You can give your dog herbal remedies in tea, as a tincture, or as a dog-safe capsule. St. John's Wort, Chamomile, and Valerian are safe for dogs and have anti-anxiety benefits. 

  • 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.