Dogs are creatures of habit and for many, disrupting their daily routine can be upsetting. In retaliation to these changes, your pet may begin to display less than desirable behavior, such as barking, chewing, and urinating indoors. These can all be signs that your pet suffers from depression and separation anxiety. This a common disorder plaguing many pets and pet owners. The goal in overcoming this disorder is to help the dog adjust to be left alone.

Here is a list of tips to help fight the struggles associated with separation anxiety:

Visit the Vet: There could be a medical issue to blame for the change in your pet’s behavior. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones, diabetes and kidney disease can all be reasons that your pet is urinating indoors. Schedule an appointment with your vet to be sure that there is no underlying medical problem.

Fight the Fear: If you are only battling a mild case of separation anxiety, try and associate the time away with something positive. When you leave, try giving your pet a treat or a food filled kong to help occupy them and associate you leaving with something good.

Conquer the Boredom: Similar to young children, pets can find trouble when left unsupervised. Providing stimulation can be an effective means of overcoming anxiety issues. Exercise and entertainment can distract your pet while you are away and help to burn off excessive energy.

Grab the Keys: Most dogs are able to sense when you are preparing to leave. Putting on shoes, a coat and grabbing the keys can all cause their anxiety level to rise. To counteract is behavior, go through all the normal steps you take before leaving but don’t leave the house. This will help to solve this predeparture anxiety.

Increase Time Away: If your pet suffers from more severe anxiety, try spending small amounts of time apart until they become more comfortable. Shorter periods of away time can be less stressful for many pets. Once they become comfortable, begin gradually increasing your away time.

Don’t Leave Them: If your pet suffers from severe anxiety, try not to leave your pet alone. This will only provoke the behavior and increase the animal’s anxiety.

Simple Greetings: Don’t make a production out of your greetings. Hellos and goodbyes should be conducted in a calm manner. Simply pat them on the head and leave and do the same when you arrive back.

Skip the Punishment: Overcoming fear and anxiety is a long and tedious process. These behaviors are not the result of disobedience, but rather a physiological condition. Don’t punish your pet for their anxious behaviors, rather work with them until they are comfortable and enjoying being left home alone.

Separation anxiety is a common problem among dogs. While it can be difficult to resolve and take time, it is important to be patient. Over time, anxiety levels will decrease and pets will become more comfortable alone.