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Picture of a dog destroying a plant

Now that the worst of the pandemic is over, Canadians are returning to their offices and leaving their pets at home. Dogs may experience separation anxiety, which can cause them to damage furniture, doors and clothing while they’re home alone. Fortunately, you can take steps to curb your pet’s destructive behaviour.

What Is Separation Anxiety? Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavioural issues with dogs. It’s the distress that dogs feel when separated from their owners. If you adopted your dog during the pandemic, it’s likely to be prone to this condition because it’s been raised in a home where people are always around. If your dog has inexplicable injuries, their separation anxiety may be making them try to escape from your house, even if it means hurting themselves. Other symptoms of separation anxiety include:

  • Excessive barking

  • Whining and crying

  • Pacing and restlessness

  • Panting and drooling

  • Vomiting

  • Urinating and defecating indoors

  • Chewing

  • Eating through walls, doors and windows

Dogs will focus their destruction on entry points like doors and windows or objects intimately related to their owners, such as the sofa, shoes or clothing. Reducing Separation Anxiety in Dogs Here are a few things you can do to reduce your dog’s destructive behaviour when you’re away:

  • Exercise your dog. Exercise is an effective stress reducer, and a tired dog is less likely to have enough energy to destroy your house. An hour a day reduces your dog’s anxiety, especially if you walk your dog shortly before leaving for work.

  • Don’t make a fuss. Keep your departures as brief as possible, and don’t make a fuss over your dog when you leave. An extended farewell only triggers more anxiety. The same goes for when your return. Make leaving and coming home no big deal.

  • Leave a scent behind. Your smell will comfort your dog while you’re gone, so leave an old shirt or a sweater you just wore on your dog’s bed before you leave.

  • Leave lights and sounds on. A change in the environment may exacerbate your dog’s anxiety, so if the house suddenly becomes dark and quiet, it may lead to destructive behaviour. Leaving some lights and the television on will make the transition less stressful.

  • Visit a veterinarian. A veterinarian can prescribe medications or supplements that help keep your dog calm while you’re away.

Visit Your Trusted Dog Hospital in Toronto The dog clinic at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital offers a wide range of health services for your dog, including vaccinations, dental care and microchipping. Our caring veterinarians can help reduce your dog’s separation anxiety. Contact us today to book an appointment for your pooch at our dog hospital in Toronto.

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