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Leaving your dog at home alone can be stressful for you and your pooch. It’s a well known fact that dogs love attention from their owners and when they’re not around can become unsettled. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety which can be mild or serious depending on your dog. Some dogs become destructive when left at home for extended periods of time, while others just get depressed. But for most people it’s inevitable that you will have to leave your dog at home for work, running errands, traveling, and other activities. Use these tips and ideas to keep your dog happy when they’re left at home alone.

Behaviors That Indicate Your Dog is Anxious From Being Left Alone

Some of the most obvious signs of separation anxiety can also be the most frustrating to deal with. Many dogs will bark and whine when they realize you’re about to leave your house. They may also display physical symptoms like salivating excessively, panting, or trembling. Once you’re away, your dog may destroy your shoes, furniture, or other items in your home. For mild cases of separation anxiety, you can work with your dog to reduce their negative reactions when you’re preparing to leave. Your dog will react accordingly with your emotions so it’s often helpful to be very calm when leaving with a simple and non-emotional goodbye to your dog. When you return, don’t be over-affectionate with your dog until they have time to calm down. It’s also helpful to create a calm and comfortable environment for your dog when you’re away. Place a comfortable dog bed in a quiet area of your home with some favorite toys or crate your dog if they are crate-trained.

Keeping Your Dog Happy When You’re Away

One of the best ways to keep your dog happy when you leave them at home is to have activities to keep them occupied. There are dog toys that are specifically designed to stimulate dogs and keep them entertained for hours. Some of these toys are designed like puzzles where you can add your dog’s favorite treats. These puzzles provide mental stimulation for your dog to prevent boredom and keep them occupied. If you have a dog who enjoys chewing, you may want to buy some chew toys that are made of durable materials and designed to hold up to heavy-duty chewing. These toys come in several sizes, styles, and flavors so you can experiment to find the option that your dog prefers. Be sure to check your dog’s water bowl before you leave your home so they have access to fresh water.

Severe Separation Anxiety

Some dogs have severe reactions to being left at home alone, especially for longer periods of time. If your dog suffers from severe symptoms from being left home alone, it’s time to talk to your vet. There are many solutions your vet can recommend based on the type of behavior your dog exhibits when you’re away. Good old-fashioned exercise before you leave can also be a great way to tire your dog out so they can rest while you’re away.

Other Options

This is not the best solution for everyone but having a companion for your dog can be helpful in some situations. Another dog or a cat can be a friend to your dog when you’re away from home. If you have a dog who gets lonely on their own, check at your local shelter for an adult dog or cat who gets along with other animals. Certain dogs get on much better with cats than others. Another idea is to install cameras in your home that allows you to communicate with your dog when you’re away. These systems can be pricey but many pet owners with dogs who suffer from severe separation anxiety find them invaluable. A good camera system can allow you to see that your dog is safe and give you the option to talk to them when you’re away to ease their anxiety. Dog sitters or dog walkers can also provide play and stimulation for your dog when you’re not at home. 

Your dog can be your most loyal companion and they usually hate to see you leave the home. Some dogs deal with being left alone with few issues while others can suffer from severe separation anxiety. If your dog becomes destructive or depressed from being left alone, you need to get a plan in place to help them better deal with separation. Interactive toys and treats can work well for many dogs. Others with more severe anxiety may need help from your vet. These tips can help you find ways to keep your dog happy when you leave them home alone.

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