Does My Dog Have Separation Anxiety? Quiz

icon June 15, 2023

Is your beloved furry friend struggling with separation anxiety? Do you notice signs of distress when you're away from home? We understand how heart-wrenching it can be to witness your dog's anxiety, and we're here to help.

The Dog Separation Anxiety Test can be filled out to assess and understand your puppy's unique emotional needs. By answering a series of carefully designed questions, you will gain valuable insight into your dog's anxiety triggers, their behavior patterns, and the best course of action to alleviate their distress.

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What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Abandoned or separated from their mother and littermates when they were puppies, or caged for long periods of time and trapped in crates, lack of proper socialization may lead to anxiety disorders later in life.

Anxiety can be triggered if there are sudden changes in daily life or the environment. Events such as moving to a new home, changes in family dynamics, or the loss of a family member or companion animal can disrupt their sense of security and lead to separation anxiety.

Dogs that are not adequately trained to remain independent and comfortable when left alone may be more prone to separation anxiety because they have not yet learned how to be alone, they are used to constant attention and companionship, and they may struggle with anxiety when they are separated from their owners.

There are also toy or sports breeds, known for their strong attachment to their owners or bred for constant human companionship, that is more prone to product separation anxiety.

What Are the Signs of Separation Anxiety in a Dog?

Dog separation anxiety can manifest in various ways, When separated from their owners, they can become extremely anxious and the following common signs occur and recognizing the symptoms is crucial for understanding and addressing your dog's distress.

Excessive Vocalization: Dogs with separation anxiety may bark, howl, or whine excessively when left alone. These vocalizations are often intense and can continue for extended periods.

Destructive Behavior: Dogs may engage in destructive behaviors, such as chewing furniture, scratching doors or walls, or tearing apart household items, as a result of anxiety and frustration.

House Soiling: Even if they are otherwise house trained. They may urinate or defecate in inappropriate areas when left alone.

Escaping Attempts: In an attempt to find their owners or escape their anxiety-inducing environment, dogs with separation anxiety may try to escape from crates, rooms, or the house itself. This behavior can lead to injuries or damage to property.

Dog Separation Anxiety and Separation Distress

Loss of Appetite: Some dogs may experience a decreased appetite or refuse to eat altogether when left alone due to the stress and anxiety they feel.

Depression or Withdrawal: In some cases, dogs with separation anxiety may display signs of depression or withdrawal. They may become lethargic, disinterested in activities they usually enjoy, or exhibit changes in overall mood and behavior.

Exaggerated Greeting Behavior: Dogs with separation anxiety may exhibit exaggerated excitement and clinginess when their owners return home, often jumping, licking excessively, or being overly demanding of attention.

Pet Parents Get Separation Anxiety, Too

Pacing and Restlessness: Dogs may exhibit restlessness and engage in repetitive behaviors like pacing or circling. They may appear agitated or unable to settle down when separated from their owners.

Excessive Salivation and Drooling: Separation anxiety can trigger excessive drooling and salivation in dogs. You may notice wet spots on the floor or furniture where your dog has been lying.

Home Remedies for Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Gradual Departures and Returns

Practice leaving and returning home in a calm and low-key manner. Gradually increase the duration of your absences, starting with very short periods and gradually working your way up. This desensitization technique can help your dog become accustomed to your departures and understand that you will return.


Associate your departures with positive experiences for your dog. For example, offer them a special treat or a favorite toy that they only receive when you leave. This helps create a positive association with your absence and can help alleviate anxiety.

Create a Safe Space

Designate a specific area in your home where your dog can retreat to when they feel anxious. Fill it with their favorite toys, a comfortable bed, and items that carry your scent, like a recently worn t-shirt. This safe space can serve as a calming sanctuary for your dog.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Make sure your dog receives plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. A tired and mentally stimulated dog is more likely to feel calm and relaxed when left alone. 
Engage in daily walks, games and training exercises to help them channel their energy in a positive way.
For example:

  • Take your dog for a daily walk and explore different routes and new places whenever possible. This exposes them to new and exciting smells and sights, keeping their senses active and curious.
  • Make mealtimes more engaging by hiding a small pile of coarse ground dog treats around the house or yard. This creates a scavenger hunt-like experience that stimulates their natural instincts and adds excitement to their day.
  • Consider participating in dog sports, such as agility, freestyle (dancing with dogs) or flyball. These activities provide mental and physical stimulation while allowing you and your dog to enjoy a shared experience.

For dogs with mild separation anxiety, doing a little means may solve the problem, but for dogs with moderate or severe separation anxiety, this can take a long time. If possible, bring your dog to work with you, or take some time off to consider a desensitization and counter-conditioning training program with a professional dog behaviorist.

Many owners are asking how to crate train a dog with separation anxiety. But

To Crate or Not to Crate?

While crate training can be beneficial for some dogs, it may not be suitable for all. It's important to observe your dog's behavior during crate training and when they're left alone in the crate while you're at home. If your dog displays signs of distress, such as heavy panting, excessive salivation, frantic escape attempts, or persistent howling or barking, it indicates that crate confinement may not be the ideal choice for them. In such cases, an alternative approach is confining your dog to a specific room using a baby gate. This allows for a sense of containment while still providing them with more freedom and reducing their anxiety.

Can Separation Anxiety in Dogs Be Cured?

While separation anxiety in dogs can be managed and significantly improved, it may not be entirely cured in all cases.  In severe cases, medication prescribed by a veterinarian may be recommended to help reduce anxiety levels in dogs. Medication can be used in conjunction with behavior modification techniques to facilitate progress.
If your dog's separation anxiety persists or worsens despite your best efforts, seeking professional help is highly recommended. A qualified dog behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist can provide expert guidance, assess your dog's specific needs, and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.


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