When Your Pet Suffers Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common problem for dogs, but it can also affect cats and other animals. Symptoms of separation anxiety include destructive behavior, excessive vocalization or crying when left alone, and frantic searching for the owner upon their return. Owners who are considering bringing home a new pet should be aware that some breeds are more prone to this condition than others.

It’s normal for a pet to have some separation anxiety.

It’s normal for pets to have some separation anxiety. Some pets are more anxious than others, but all of them will feel the need to be with their owners and may show signs of separation anxiety if they aren’t able to be around you.

If you’re gone for a short time—for example, if you work during the day—your pet may become stressed while you’re gone. However, most animals are fine spending a few hours alone because they have an established routine and know that they’ll be reunited with their favorite people later in the day or evening.

Consider whether there are any factors that could be making the issue worse.

  1. If your pet has just undergone a stressful event, such as surgery or moving to a new home, that can exacerbate separation anxiety.
  2. Pets with certain medical conditions can also be more susceptible to separation anxiety than average. These include kidney disease and diabetes, which are common in older pets.
  3. Rescue animals may exhibit more signs of separation anxiety because they’ve often been through multiple homes before arriving with you—a process that is stressful for most animals. The same goes for puppies and kittens who have never been separated from their mothers before being adopted into your family.
  4. Some cats are more likely than others to suffer from feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS), which is essentially another form of separation anxiety in which the cat feels compelled to attack things when left alone.

When you leave the house, do so without making a big deal of it.

  1. Avoid making a big deal of it. If your pet is already suffering from separation anxiety, the last thing you want to do is make a bigger fuss when you leave. This can increase their anxiety and cause them to have even more trouble with separation anxiety in the future.
  2. Make sure they’re comfortable while they wait for you to return home. If there’s any way to install a dog door or cat flap so that your pet can come and go as he pleases (if he’s not prone to getting lost), this may help him feel more confident about being alone at home with the option of returning if things start feeling too scary for him at some point during your absence. It’s also important that before leaving, make sure that all food and water dishes are filled up so that no extra work falls on your shoulders once you’re gone (or worse yet—someone else’s).

Reintroduce your pet to crate training if you haven’t done that in a while.

The first step to crate training your pet is getting the right size crate. If it’s too small, your pet may feel cramped and uncomfortable; if it’s too big, your pet will just have more space to roam around in and be anxious.

If you’ve never crate trained before or if it’s been a while since you last did so, there are plenty of tips out there on how to get started. The most important thing is that you introduce the idea gradually—if you try to put him in his crate for an extended amount of time on day one, he’ll probably just panic even more than usual because he doesn’t know what’s going on! That said, once he does realize what the crate means (that being left alone isn’t as scary as he thinks), he’ll feel much safer knowing that there’s somewhere secure for him when his family leaves home.

A new toy or treat could help keep your pet calm while you’re away.

If your pet is suffering from separation anxiety, you can help keep them calm by leaving a treat or toy when you leave the house. You should also make sure they have plenty of water to drink and a place to go to the bathroom.

You should reward your pet for staying calm while you’re gone. This can be done by giving them treats or playing with them for a bit when they’re quiet and relaxed.

Try to vary your routine when leaving the house and returning home.

While it’s important to try to be consistent with your pet’s daily routines, it’s also helpful to vary your departure and return times. This can help keep the anxiety at bay by preventing him from becoming too used to them.

When you’re getting ready to leave home, try giving your pet a few minutes’ warning so they’re not surprised when they hear you open the door or lock up. It may also help if someone else in the house can stay behind for a bit with him until he gets used to this new routine of yours.

If possible, continue doing things that are familiar and comforting for your dog during the time you’re gone—like having dinner with him or playing fetch before bedtime.

As much as possible, try to keep your pet’s environment as consistent as possible.

You can help relieve your pet’s stress by keeping his or her environment as consistent as possible.

For example, you might:

  1. Keep the same bed and toys in place. Your pet will feel more secure if he sleeps on the same bed and has his favorite toys next to him.
  2. Keep the food dish in place. Your pet may be anxious about eating from a new bowl or from one that is too close to another animal (such as another dog). You may want to put both bowls at the same time so that your pet does not associate this change with separation anxiety issues.


Separation anxiety can be distressing for the pet and their owner, but it is important to remember that there are many things you can do to help your furry friend. If your pet suffers from separation anxiety or you’re worried they may be developing this problem, contact your veterinarian and talk about medication options.

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