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separation anxiety in dogs

home ALONE

Although dogs are social animals, many dogs spend much of the daytime hours home alone.  While some dogs seem to adjust to quite well, others have a more difficult time. 

Why does my dog not like being alone?

There are many reasons why a dog may not like being left alone, including not being properly socialized to a crate as a puppy, being left too long without the ability to eliminate outside, or just being lonely.

Being unhappy when left alone is a common problem in dogs, and it can get worse if left untreated. It can be upsetting for a dog owner and it is a major reason for dogs being rehomed. For this reason, it's important to make the best efforts to prevent it from developing, and if the problem has already arisen to address it with the help of a professional.

Tips to help your dog feel comfortable spending time alone


Provide your dog with somewhere safe to be when you are not at home, e.g. a dog bed, a room or even a crate if your dog has been properly socialized to being kenneled.


Plug in an Adaptil Diffuser in the room where your dog will spend their time alone. Adaptil should be continued for at least 30 days after your dog has learned to calmly spend time on their own. Replace the refill every 30 days, as required. An Adaptil Collar is an ideal alternative for dogs that have access to a large area or who must remain outdoors when home alone.


Reward your dog for demonstrating relaxed behaviours.


Ensure your dog has had enough exercise and has been outside to eliminate before being left home alone.


Leave your dog a fun toy or food puzzle to keep him occupied as you depart.


Keep your departures and returns calm and quiet.


If your dog is destructive or eliminates while you are gone never punish them. This can increase their distress.

What is separation distress?

Separation distress is an extreme behavioural response a dog shows when they are unable to cope with being home alone. It can sometimes be severe enough to cause injury to the dog or significant damage to the dog's environment. Common signs include:

  • Barking, whining or howling soon after family members leave and perhaps all day
  • Elimination indoors even after having been outside before owners depart
  • Destruction, often near entrances and exits, but can be any items
  • Rearranging owner possessions-taking owner scented items and carrying them around
  • If confined, intensive and perhaps injurious attempts to escape
  • Consistently occurs on most departures

Separation distress can be a severe problem.  If you suspect your dog is suffering from separation distress, or the above steps do not help your dog feel more at ease when spending time alone, contact your veterinarian or veterinary behaviourist.


WE RECOMMEND: Adaptil Diffuser or Collar

Adaptil Diffuser

Adaptil Diffuser

ADAPTIL Diffusers and Refills work continuously to provide constant calming comfort at home.

Adaptil Collar

Adaptil Collar large

Adaptil Collars provide constant calming support wherever your dog goes, indoors or outdoors.