I Can't Leave My Dog! Separation Anxiety in Dogs

I Can't Leave My Dog! Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Photo by Bacila Vlad

"He goes crazy if I even walk out of the room!"

Does this sound like you?

"Why does my dog get so anxious when I leave?" If you've ever wondered this, you're not alone. Separation anxiety is a common issue that many pet owners face. I have known dogs that have literally destroyed the house by ripping down doors because of their anxiety.

This dog anxiety often leads to human anxiety, and sometimes ruined relationships. This is an important topic, so let's talk about what to do with dog separation anxiety.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a condition where dogs exhibit stress and behavior problems when separated from their owners. Symptoms include excessive barking, destructive behavior, and inappropriate urination. This anxiety stems from the dog's fear of being alone and can significantly impact their well-being.

Think about it, dogs in the wild (and wolves) are pack animals, doesn't it make sense for them to go crazy if their pack seems like they are leaving them?

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

  • Excessive Barking or Howling: Dogs may vocalize their distress when left alone.
  • Destructive Behavior: Chewing furniture, digging, and scratching doors are common.
  • Inappropriate urination: Accidents in the house, even if the dog is house-trained, can occur.
  • Pacing: Some dogs walk in a specific pattern when anxious.

Practical Tips for Managing Separation Anxiety

  1. Gradual Desensitization: Start by leaving your dog alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration. This helps them get used to your absence.
  2. Create a Safe Space: Provide a comfortable and secure area where your dog feels safe. Include toys and bedding.
  3. Exercise: Ensure your dog gets plenty of physical and mental exercise before you leave. A tired dog is less likely to be anxious.
  4. Behavioral Training: Consider working with a professional trainer or behaviorist to address the anxiety.
  5. Use Calming Aids: Products like pheromone diffusers or other veterinary supplements can help soothe your dog.

How to Manage Separation Anxiety

The late Dr. Sophia Yin has an excellent video on reducing separation anxiety:

When to Seek Veterinary Help

If your dog's anxiety is severe, consult your veterinarian. They can help determine any underlying medical issues and may prescribe medication to help manage the anxiety. Behavioral training, combined with medical intervention, can be highly effective.


Separation anxiety in dogs is a common and distressing condition, but with patience and the right approach, it can be managed. Regular vet visits and behavioral training are essential to ensure your dog remains happy and healthy.

Not sure where to start?

Behavioral training is something that can get pushed to the side in a traditional vet visit. If you've tried dog training and have been frustrated (it's okay, I've been there), please do not give up. ❤️