October 31, 2023 6 min read

You might think you're the only one whose dog throws a fit every time you grab your keys to leave. Trust us, it's more common than you'd think. This behavior is more than just a little fuss; it's what experts call "separation anxiety." This kind of stress can lead to all sorts of problems for your pup, from chewing up your favorite shoes to more serious issues like constant barking that disturbs the neighbors. It's not just tough for your dog; it's stressful for you, too! That's why it's crucial to nip this problem in the bud. Keep reading to find simple, doable ways to make both your lives easier and way more chill.


1. Give Them a Safe Space

Creating a safe space for your dog is like giving them a room of their own. Just like you'd love a comfy bedroom to relax in, your dog will appreciate a secure area where they can retreat when feeling uneasy.

Start by picking a quiet corner or room in your home. It could be a spot your dog already likes to go to. Fill this space with cozy blankets, a comfy bed, and maybe a couple of their favorite toys. This creates a familiar and soothing environment for your pup.

Here's a pro tip: Use an old shirt or blanket that smells like you. Your scent can be comforting to your dog, helping them feel close to you even when you're not there.
Training your dog to love this space is crucial. Spend some time with them in this area, playing or just cuddling. Each time they go into their special space, reward them with a small treat. This helps your dog associate the area with good vibes and tasty rewards.

Lastly, make this safe space the go-to area for "quiet time" when you're away. Encourage your dog to go here whenever you're about to leave, and pretty soon, they'll get the hang of it. Your dog will learn that this is their safe haven, and it will become a place of comfort instead of stress.


2. Practice "Quiet Exits"

Many of us are guilty of making our departures feel like a big event. We might hug our dog, give them loads of kisses, and say goodbye in a high-pitched voice. While it feels good for us, this can make our dogs even more stressed about the fact that we're leaving.

Here's how to do it right: When you're about to head out, keep your emotions in check. You want to aim for a low-key, relaxed atmosphere. No fanfare, no dramatic goodbyes. Simply give your dog a gentle pat or a calm verbal cue like "be back soon" to signal that you're leaving.

Before making this a routine, you can practice with short departures. Step out for just a minute or two and then come back. Gradually increase the time you're away so your dog gets used to the idea that you'll always come back. This also helps them understand that being alone is just a temporary state, not a forever thing.
Some folks even find it helpful to establish a "goodbye ritual." This could be something as simple as giving your dog a special treat or toy right before you walk out the door. The trick is to make this a regular part of your exit strategy. Over time, this ritual will signal to your dog that it's time to relax and wait for your return.

By making your exits quiet and low-key, you're setting the stage for a more peaceful time apart. Your dog will learn that there's no need to panic; you'll be back before they know it!


3. Puzzle Toys Are Your Friend

If you've never used a puzzle toy for your dog, you're in for a treat—literally! Puzzle toys are not just regular toys; they're designed to keep your dog's brain engaged. The idea is to fill the toy with a tasty snack, and your dog has to figure out how to get it out.

Why are these toys so great for dogs with separation anxiety? Well, they're basically a fun distraction. Your dog will focus on solving the "puzzle" to get to the treat, and that helps to take their mind off the fact that you're not around.

The Teaser Ball is a great example of a toy designed to keep your dog engaged and entertained for hours while you’re away.

A word to the wise: don't use the same toy all the time. Keep a few different puzzle toys on hand and rotate them. This will keep your dog interested, and a new challenge will make each separation a little easier to handle.

So next time you need to step out, give your dog a puzzle toy and let the magic happen. Not only does it distract them, but it also gives them a sense of achievement when they finally get that treat out!


4. Try Calming Scents

Smell is a super powerful sense for dogs—way stronger than ours! That's why certain scents can actually help your pup chill out when you're not around.
One of the most popular calming scents is lavender. Now, don't just go grabbing any lavender-scented product off the shelf. It's essential to make sure it's pet-safe. You can find special sprays made just for dogs that you can mist on their bed or in their safe space.

Another option is to use a diffuser with dog-safe essential oils. Just a few drops of lavender oil in a diffuser can fill the room with a calming aroma. If you're going this route, make sure to follow the instructions and keep the diffuser in a place where your dog can't knock it over.

Some people even use scented toys or blankets. Remember how we talked about leaving an item that smells like you? Well, you can up the game by adding a calming scent to it. Just a few spritzes on a blanket or toy can go a long way.
And it's not just about lavender! Other scents like chamomile and valerian can also have a calming effect on dogs. Feel free to experiment to see which scent works best for your furry friend.

Keep in mind that not all dogs will react the same way to scents. Always introduce any new smell gradually and monitor your dog to make sure they're not having an allergic reaction.

By using calming scents, you're tapping into your dog's powerful sense of smell to help them feel secure and relaxed. It's like giving them a warm, aromatic hug even when you're not there!


5. CBD: A Natural Solution

You've probably heard the buzz about CBD for humans, but did you know it's also becoming a popular choice for helping dogs cope with anxiety? CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in hemp plants. It's not the stuff that gets you high—that's THC. CBD is all about helping you—and your dog—relax.

Here's how you can introduce CBD to your dog:

1. Start with a low dose. Keep an eye on your dog to see how they react. If all goes well, you can gradually increase the dosage as recommended by your vet or the product guidelines.

2. Don't just give your dog CBD right when you're leaving and expect instant results. Consistency is key. Make it a regular part of their routine for best outcomes.

3. After a week or two, you should start noticing a change in your dog's behavior. Maybe they're not pacing as much, or they seem more relaxed when you grab your keys. Keep track of these small wins; they're signs that the CBD is working!

It's super important to buy high-quality, third-party tested CBD products made specifically for pets, like the ones by Relievet CBD for Pets. This ensures that they're safe and effective for your furry friend.

The world of CBD is promising, but remember it's not a magic cure. It's most effective when used alongside other strategies, like those safe spaces and puzzle toys we talked about earlier.

There you have it! CBD could be the natural solution you've been searching for to help your dog manage their separation anxiety.


Wrapping It Up

Dealing with a dog's separation anxiety can feel overwhelming, but remember, you're not alone. With patience, love, and a combination of tried-and-true strategies, you can help your furry friend navigate their feelings and create a more peaceful home environment. From designating a cozy safe space, trying out engaging puzzle toys, to exploring natural remedies like CBD, there's a world of options to explore. It might take a bit of time and experimenting to see what works best for your pup, but with every step, you're building a stronger bond and trust. After all, our pets give us unconditional love and joy—it's only fair we do our best to ensure their happiness and comfort. Happy tail wagging!


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