All Things Pets

Recognizing and Relieving Anxiety in Your Dog

You’ve recently adopted a dog at your local shelter.


For the first few days, all goes well. Then you realize you need to spend several hours away from the house. You give your doggie love, then head out the door — only to return, later, to discover the inside of the front door has been clawed to pieces, and toilet paper is strewn everywhere!

Some dogs can’t stand to be away from their pet parent. Others don’t like being alone in general. In either case, much destruction can befall your home. This behavior is not easy to remedy. But it can be managed.

Here are some tips for handling pups with anxious behavior.

First and foremost, discover what sets off the anxiety. Is it you preparing to leave, or your actual absence? Perhaps the anxiety only occurs during a thunderstorm or in the presence of small children. In order to treat the condition effectively, definitively find the trigger.

For weather-related behavior, buy your pup a thunder shirt. While the storm is raging, hold your pet close while he wears his thunder shirt. You can even give periodic treats so he starts associating the weather pattern with something positive. Also, turn up the volume on the TV or your sound system so the weather noise is less noticeable.

If the trigger is children, make sure your dog is sequestered in another room when young kids are present. You’ll need to train him for children. Some pups never feel comfortable; that means the kiddos have to remain at a safe distance or in another room. This is something to find out BEFORE you adopt!

If your pup acts up when you leave her alone, take the following steps:

  • Make sure you prepare to leave out of her sight.
  • DO NOT play or interact with her for an hour before you leave!
  • Place one or two puzzle-style treat dispensers in the house and let her find them (a peanut butter-filled kong works well).
  • Try placing her in her thunder shirt while you’re gone, for a feeling of added security.
  • Either crate her (if you won’t be gone more than three or four hours) or confine her to a room with lots of toys and maybe a window into the back yard. Otherwise, a doggie gate can keep her out of certain rooms.

You could also purchase a Bluetooth speaker that contains 90 minutes of special music known to calm anxious dogs. Search for “Pet Bluetooth Speaker Preloaded Calming” at your online retailer of choice.

Another option is to hire a dog walker, or ask a friend to go over and interact with your pooch during your time away.

And, finally, there is also a supplement called Solliquin, which is safe and often effective at curbing anxiety. For very serious cases, talk to your vet about Trazadone, but only as a last resort.

Consider combining some of these suggestions for a winning method to save your furniture and have a happier, healthier fur baby at home. 


Laura Sutherland

Laura Sutherland is the owner of WAG-n-TRAIN pet services, East Dallas’s premier pet care provider. Laura is insured, and a member of the Professional United Petsitters (PUPs).

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