It’s stressful and challenging for you and your neighbours when your beloved dog suffers from separation anxiety, and it’s surprisingly common and unnecessary. So today let’s talk about –
- What is separation anxiety in dogs
- What causes separation anxiety
- The symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs
- Can separation anxiety make your dog sick?
- How to treat separation anxiety
- Organic dog calmer
- Separation anxiety success stories
What Is Separation Anxiety In Dogs?
Separation anxiety is when your puppy or dog goes into a state of anxiety or stress because they have been left alone and haven’t been trained properly to accept this state of separation on their own.
Dogs in the wild naturally separate slightly from their mothers at the age of around 7 weeks due to the mother needing to go off and hunt for food. So it is not an unnatural state for the dog to experience. They will happily wait until their mother comes back, and this is what you want to create with your own dogs at home.
What Causes Separation Anxiety In Dogs?
Dog owners often make the mistake of thinking it is cruel to leave a puppy alone, and they then spend every waking moment with the puppy. They’re anxious when the puppy is anxious – which feeds the anxiety of the puppy (as we know canines are very in tune with their owners). In these situations, the puppy doesn’t get used to the idea or practice of being alone and becomes prone to separation anxiety.
The opposite is also true, especially with our beloved rescue pups who suffer from separation issues from puppy-hood trauma.
Lack of routine or mental stimulation can also contribute to separation anxiety. Both of these are important for the mental wellbeing of your precious pup.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Unfortunately, if a puppy or dog develops separation anxiety then havoc can be created very easily.
Symptoms of separation anxiety in your dog may include:
- Constant barking, whimpering, or crying
- Constant licking or grooming
- Chewing furniture, clothes and anything within their reach. They can even chew walls and doors
- Weeing and toileting in the house even though they are house trained.
- Aggression towards humans or other animals – laying ears back and snarling
- Difficulty breathing
- Easily frightened – jumpiness or cowering
Can Separation Anxiety Make Your Dog Sick?
Dogs that are hyperactive or are nervous can often have an unbalanced internal system. This sometimes affects the skin, behaviour, and digestion.
For this reason (and the sake of your own sanity, and relationship with your neighbours) it’s best not to just ignore it.
How To Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Addressing the root cause is always the best tactic, but if you have an overly-nervous dog or a situation you can’t avoid, there are ways you can help.
Training is definitely the best answer to get your dog used to being alone. Especially if you train them when they are young. Separation anxiety is very common in dogs who are naturally pack animals so it is critical you put the effort into gently training your dog to be alone.
Saying that, it is also not suitable to leave a dog for many hours, day in day out on their own and that is where doggy daycare has come in to save many dogs from daily separation anxiety.
Lots of positive reinforcement is required and gentle patience to get your pup used to the idea of separation plus here are some other useful ideas.
Separation Anxiety Training Tip -Best practice is to create a safe crate or puppy pen where the puppy can be left safely on its own and gets used to the idea of separation. It is important not to respond to every cry the puppy makes but to give them time on their own with toys or bones that can keep them busy while they are on their own. Ideally you should leave for puppy for a couple of hours a day so they become comfortable with the notion.
There is a trick where you can tie a string to the puppy’s crate where he is situated in another room. Every time he/she cries you pull on the string quickly which jolts the cage and surprises the puppy so he stops crying.
The goal is to stop the association and behaviour of crying which becomes automatic if left to develop on its own. (This came from Mark Vetty, dog behaviourist.)
Exercise is another very important element for keeping your dog happy and anxiety free.
Just like humans, dogs will benefit mood-wise from having enough exercise as it creates serotonin - the feel good hormone, and it relieves tension. A tired dog is a happy dog and much more likely to happily have a snooze while you pop out for a while.
3. Calming Herbs and Separation Anxiety
Herbs can play a wonderful role in helping your anxious pup. Auckland based vet Jim Powell from Vets’ Corner in Takanini explains;
“One of the advantages of using herbal supplements is that they allow for early intervention before clinical signs become severe. Medicinal herbs are a time-honored tradition, and when used in conjunction with modern science have proven to be extremely beneficial to our four-legged friends”.
A mixture of calming herbs will help to
- gently soothe the nervous system,
- aid digestion, and
- relax the muscles and the gut without causing the drowsy state that conventional sedatives can induce”.
Specific herbs are brilliant for calming your nervous dog, and they provide a natural and safe alternative to pharmaceutical meds, and their nasty side effects.
Using herbs for dogs is a mild, non-addictive and cost-effective way for calming your dog – especially as they don’t require a vet visit and prescription.
Unlike pharmaceuticals, calming herbs can be a long-term solution for your dog, working to support the nervous system through nutrition.
In fact, many of the herbs for dogs we recommend are also often prescribed for humans!
The most popular herbs for calming dogs who suffer from separation anxiety are -
Valerian Root: Valerian root is one of the more popular sedatives and anti-anxiety herbs for dogs and humans alike. Since valerian is considered a “warming herb”, it is not recommended for dogs that tend to run hot (for instance, itchy dogs hot to the touch with bright-red tongues).
Thanks to its nerve soothing properties, Vervain is another one of the fantastic calming herbs for dogs that counteracts fear based anxieties such as separation anxiety, and it’s also fantastic to help your precious pup cope with thunderstorms and fireworks. Studies show that Vervain is an effective nervine herb, but without the unwanted side-effects.
Chamomile: Next time you put on a pot of chamomile tea, how about brewing a cuppa for your pupper?
We’re not kidding – this versatile herb – commonly known for helping us humans relax – is also one of the more-favourable herbs for dogs.
Oat: Oat is another excellent example of nerve-calming herbs for dogs, and it’s very nutritious as well. Everyone knows of rolled oats or steel-cut oats as a breakfast food.
However, oat tops (the seed of the plant) or oat straw (the stems/leaves of the plant) are what is used in making nourishing teas. If you aren’t able to get the tea, a simple home remedy is cooked oatmeal which can be added to your dog's food. It can also help with epilepsy, tremors, and twitching.
Organic Dog Calmer Natural Herbs
It’s tough to see your beloved pooch stressed, and their behaviours when they’re stressed or anxious can be a real challenge for you, your family, other pets and animals – and let’s not forget about the neighbours.
One of the simplest ways to calm your anxious, nervous or excitable dog is to use the Brookby Herbs Organic Calmer for dogs. It’s perfect for restoring a healthy strong nervous system, and for soothing and calming them while you work on breaking the habitual behaviour through training.
It can be a challenge to know exactly which herb to give your dog when, how, and what quantities so we’ve formulated The Organic Calmer for dogs to include the ideal quantities of Chamomile, Vervain, Lemon Balm, Dandelion, Rosehip, Kelp and all based in organic cider vinegar.
That means you don’t need to worry about correct doses of individual herbs, and it’ll restore the emotional balance in your dog’s behaviour for as little as $6 per month.
The herbs are usually best given 3 times a day to start with then reduced to 1 or 2 doses per day as the situation improves. This single dose is then reduced to the minimum amount required to keep your dog happy and calm.
Dose: 5 to 10 drops for Small Breeds; 10 to 20 drops for Medium and Large breeds.
I have 2 Standard Schnauzers that were typically over diligent and bark at anything and everything. After using the Organic Calmer for about 6 weeks - once a day, I, my husband and neighbours have all noticed a MAJOR change in their behaviour - they are both much more relaxed. Thank you so much for making my life easier.Wilson, Qld, Australia
We have a boxer who I would describe as incredibly exciteable and energetic, always wanting attention and games. Unfortunately she goes from morning till night which wears us all out. I tried using the Organic Calmer in the hope of getting a bit of rest and I have to say it worked perfectly. She happily takes the drops then quite quickly lies down and has a rest for a while. It has been a miracle for us all.Trenter, Clevedon, NZ.
Buy 100ml Organic Dog Calmer For $36.95 and Get a 50 ml Natural Flea Oil Free (RRP $15)
It’s super easy to try the Brookby Herbs Organic Dog Calmer. You can purchase 100ml bottle now for just NZD $36.95, and we’ll throw in a 50 ml natural flea oil valued at $15
This simple natural remedy for fleas allows you to control fleas without the use of dangerous chemicals. Simply dab a little behind your dog's ears and above their tail for safe and effective control of fleas.
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