Returning to Work? How to Help with Canine Separation Anxiety

Returning to Work? How to Help with Canine Separation Anxiety

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 05.05.2021

How to Help Dog Separation Anxiety

Pre-COVID-19, our four-legged friends probably loved having the house or apartment to themselves while you were away working your tail off to support their needs and wants. Whether it was being home alone for 6 or 12 hours a day, your pup was a champ at being on their best behavior as well as catching up on all their very needed naps. 

Fast forward through to the current pandemic: our doggos are not the same. Over the last year, we’ve spent more time at home - doing everything. Not only has this changed our dynamic with our housemates, but also our pet mates. From spending hours apart to now more hours together than not, our furry friends may not be complaining with all this extra time and attention of their favorite human around. But what’s next? What happens when your caring paw parent gets the crystal clear to head back into the office? How will our dogs respond to us being gone for those long hours again?

As cities and states across the country begin to get the okay to reopen and head back to work, we have to take into consideration our furry friend’s response to this too. 

In today’s article, we’ll touch on the possibilities of canine separation anxiety, what this may look like for your pup, and how you can help fido ease back into the ‘home alone’ transition. 

Let’s get started.

Prepare to Leave Your Canine: One Step at a Time

This may sound silly and maybe ‘no big deal’ for you, but this may not be the case for your doggo when it comes time for you to head out for your big back-to-the-office day. 

Get your dog used to you leaving for longer periods of time and coming back again. This can help ease them into what is to come when you start doing this on the regular again. Start with short trips - maybe a grocery store run or a gym session. You can slowly increase the time you’re gone from the house over time. 



This may help with any separation anxiety your pet may be feeling or developing over time with you. As this may be harsh and scary for them, increasing your time away throughout the day can help ease them into being alone again. 

Another thing worth mentioning, if you normally put fido somewhere before you head to work, start doing that again. Even if it’s only for a short time, they will start to recognize and maybe remember why you’re putting them there in the first place. 


Regular Work Day Routines

If your dog typically goes in your room or their kennel when you’re away at work, start there again. Try putting them in their crate or working in another room for a few hours to try and get them used to being away from you for a bit. 

For those who use dog walkers try and booking a session in the afternoon while you’re still at home. This may help reduce your dog’s anxiety by transitioning them to an outdoor activity with a new person. It may also help if you continue to use a dog walker even when you’re back at the office. It may excite your pup to get to know a new human face and do an outdoor activity while you’re away. 

What Causes Dog Separation Anxiety?

There are multiple underlying causes linked to separation anxiety in dogs. If your pup begins to have a nervous breakdown when they sense that you’ll be leaving soon, consider whether certain changes have recently happened in your living space.


Change in schedules.


Dogs are creatures of habit, like us. We like our schedules and we stick to them! It keeps us in line and productive on a daily basis. Dogs aren’t much different here. So, when there are changes in their typical daily schedule, this can lead to symptoms of separation anxiety. 



Lack of household integration.


When a new dog is brought home for the very first time, pet owners may think it’s best to separate the dogs into certain parts of the house or to leave them in a crate. We understand that you don’t want your house to be chewed up by your new puppy, do understand that the lack of integrating your new puppy with your other dogs may lead to separation anxiety.


Changes in the household.


If you are a dog owner, then you know just how sensitive your fur baby can be. They bond with each and every member of your household and love seeing them on a regular basis. Therefore, a death in the family or divorce can devastate your pup and lead them to have symptoms of separation anxiety. 



Paw parents may not realize the extent that their “people problems” may have on their dog’s life. The owner-to-animal bond is extremely strong, most of the time. Even something small, like a roommate moving out, can cause your pup distress, wondering if you’re going to leave and not come back. 

Being abandoned.


Separation anxiety is commonly seen with abandonment. As you can picture, a dog that has been in and out of shelters and homes will likely have separation anxiety due to their fear of their paw parent not returning. Whether the parent’s absence is short-term or long-term, this can initiate full panic mode in your dog.



Moving places ties into a change in your pup’s schedule as well as a lack of proper integration. We understand how stressful moving can be for us humans. We want you to note though, it’s super stressful for your pups too. Dogs are super sensitive beings. If you’re in the process of packing and moving, it’s very likely that your dog is sensing your stress and anxiety, as well as experiencing its own. Doubling the amount of stress your dog may be experiencing, doubles to separation anxiety.

What are the Signs of Dog Separation Anxiety?

We won’t get too in-depth about separation anxiety in dogs in this particular article, but you can check out Separation Anxiety: Getting the Best of Your Dog if you’re wanting more information on the topic!

Just like us humans, dogs too experience anxiety. Separation anxiety is an anxiety disorder. In fact, 1 of 6 dogs may suffer from this disorder at one time or another. Pets with single parent owners are also 2.5 times more likely to have separation anxiety than a pet living with several people. Older pets are more likely to develop separation anxiety too because of cognitive changes occurring with getting older. 



 Separation anxiety in dogs can occur when pet owners leave for any length of time. Dogs are innately part of a pack. Therefore, many don’t do what to do when they’re alone, given their instinctual nature. Thus, this induces anxiety-driven behaviors. While saddening and heart-wrenching, it can also leave pet owners feeling extremely frustrated.


There are behavioral issues and other various conditions that share similar symptoms to separation anxiety so it is important to be able to tell them apart.

Separation anxiety in canines can take on many different forms, including:

  • Barking frequently
  • Howling
  • Panting or pacing the house
  • Shaking 
  • Shivering
  • Destroying objects
  • Hiding
  • Obsessive licking or biting
  • Escaping
  • Eating poop
  • Frequent urination

Once you start to recognize abnormal behaviors in your dog, you may be able to better understand what’s going on with the separation anxiety and how to talk to your veterinarian about your concerns. 

What Can Help Relieve My Dog’s Separation Anxiety?

Now that we’ve covered the anxious parts of the article, you’re probably wondering now how to help them cope with anxiety (more so, how to come home to a spotless and undestroyed home).

One of the easiest ways to make sure that your dog is relaxed when you head out for your day of in-person office work is to get them exercised and entertained beforehand. 



A tired doggo is less likely to experience anxiety and may nap harder when you’re away for the day, instead of worrying about when you’ll return. 

Giving your dog toys or mental stimulation activities to do while you’re gone can help distract them while you’re away. A consistent doggo favorite is a kong toy stuffed with a treat or peanut butter. Dogs can take hours trying to get their delicious treat out of this toy! Just a suggestion.

CBD Oil for Dogs Anxiety

Many paw parents have turned to natural and holistic options to help calm their dog when they’re away, such as CBD Oil

Although CBD does come from the cannabis plant, CBD products contain little to no THC in them. So you can rest easy knowing that fido will not “get high” while you’re away. 

Here, at Petly CBD, our dog droppers have been scientifically crafted for dogs of small, medium, and large sizes, formulated with organically grown phytocannabinoid-rick hemp. Our proprietary blend features naturally occurring compounds and terpenes found in our broad-spectrum hemp oil. 

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