Today’s guest writer is Robbi Hess, Story Editor at Positively Woof. Robbi is writing about how to notice the signs of stress and separation anxiety in your dog and how to alleviate it.

Is your dog acting out of sorts? Is he pacing? Panting or drooling? Is she not eating her meals with the usual gusto? Does your dog seem overly anxious and frantic when you leave for work and then again when you come home?

Those behaviors and others — including barking, licking and chewing her skin, chewing your furniture  — could be signs of separation anxiety. Here are common signs your dog could be suffering. Check with your veterinarian if you notice these signs just so he or she can rule out underlying health issues. The issue has become so prevalent that there is a week devoted to raising awareness about fear, anxiety and stress in dogs.

Loss of appetite. It’s unlikely your dog simply wants to take a break from eating his usual meal. A dog who loses interest in meals warrants a call to your veterinarian. He could have an underlying health condition or he could be suffering stress and his anxiety is making him lose interest in food.

Digestive issues including constipation or diarrhea. Gastrointestinal issues can be caused by your dog eating something he shouldn’t have or by stress. If he hasn’t had a bowel movement or has diarrhea, for more than 24 hours, call your vet.

Isolating herself. There are times when your dog will just want to be alone, but if your dog doesn’t usually do that and is constantly isolating, she may be suffering from anxiety.

Sleeping more than usual. You know your dog’s sleep habits. If you notice he is sleeping more than usual or is lethargic, call your vet. Lethargy, is often a sign your dog is injured or ill, but it can also be a sign of stress.

Change in behavior. If your dog is becoming aggressive toward other animals or people, this is a definite sign of an ill or stressed out dog. Contact your veterinarian.

When you’re talking with your veterinarian, let him or her know when you first noticed signs of stress in your dog and whether there are other changes that took place in the house around the time of the changes in your dog’s behavior. You may be able to pinpoint the cause of his stress if illness has been ruled out.

How can you alleviate your dog’s stress and enrich his environment?

  1.   Play with your dog regularly. Physical activity is a stress reducer.
  2.   Give your dog his own safe space to which he can escape from anxiety-inducing events.
  3.   A healthy diet is important for your dog’s overall health and well-being.
  4.  Spend quiet, quality time with your dog. If he is suffering separation anxiety, work with him to let him know that even though you’re leaving you will be back.
  5. Don’t leave him home completely alone. Enrich his environment by leaving DOGTV on for him so he won’t be home alone in a silent house. DOGTV is an audio-visual therapy tool for dogs who suffer loneliness, boredom, separation anxiety and depression. When your dog is home alone, DOGTV provides programming that will relax him.

Pet Anxiety Awareness Week

Pet Anxiety Awareness Week (PAAW), observed June 25-July 1, 2018, spreads the word about dogs who suffer from fear, anxiety or stress (FAS). Kristen Levine, of Kristen Levine Pet Living, wants to help pet parents find real solutions to this very real and very upsetting condition from which their dogs suffer. Levine states  “an estimated 50% of pets suffer FAS, but not many pet parents know where to turn for help.” Behavior problems, some associated with fear, anxiety and stress are leading causes of dogs being surrendered.

Fear, anxiety and stress can begin suddenly when there is a change in the dog’s environment, being left alone, the breed itself or past trauma.

If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms of fear, anxiety or stress, sign up for a free fourteen day trial of DOGTV to help him be calmer and more relaxed while you’re away. Enrich your dog’s environment to alleviate his stress and separation anxiety.