Most dog owners have heard of separation anxiety on dogs. This condition can lead to your dog being destructive and become a rowdy member of the family.
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Signs that your dog may have separation anxiety
There are a lot of signs that a dog with separation anxiety exhibits, but there are some very noticeable ones that you should look out for if you suspect your dog of having this condition.
Excessive barking, destroying their cage or your household furniture, or even excessive licking and biting on their paws and legs, are clear signs that your dog may have separation anxiety.
Other symptoms like pooping and urinating around the house while you are away, can also be alarming signs of this condition.
But these symptoms can also be caused by ineffective training or maybe signs for other underlying conditions your dog may have. So be sure to consult a veterinarian if you see these behaviors on your dog to make sure.
Ways to treat your dog’s separation anxiety
If your dog was diagnosed with separation anxiety, there are a lot of ways to help them overcome it.
- Make your pre-leaving habits varied. If you’re used to doing rituals before leaving the home (locking windows, picking up keys, then grabbing jacket), you might want to switch it up, so your dog won’t get worked up knowing that you are about to leave.
- Get them used to you being gone gradually. Start with a few minutes of you being gone, then you can gradually increase the time, so they get used to you leaving the house. This requires extreme patience and perseverance on your part as pet owner and can be a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
- Keep them occupied while you are away. Get an automatic treat feeder and toys for them to play with while you are gone to keep them entertained. Or if you can, get another dog that they can play with.
- Medication to keep them calm. If your veterinarian thinks that giving them medicine will help, then you can try using it along with positive training.
- Escape-proof dog crates or cages. Due to the instincts that have been passed down to our dogs from their ancestors, dogs should be comfortable in enclosed spaces. Cages and kennels mimic the “dens” which they used to live in when they are still wild animals. A severe case of separation anxiety or improper training may leave them not liking their kennel and try to escape, but with proper re-introduction, it may do you and your poor chewed on furniture some good!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Are crates good for dogs with separation anxiety?
Answer: Crates prevent dogs from further damaging your home when they have separation anxiety. But trained dogs are much preferable to be confined in pet crates or kennels.
Question: Is it better to use metal or plastic dog crates?
Answer: If you have a dog that can chew even through tough plastic, then a metal one is the better choice. You can leave them with chew toys inside their crates so they can have something to play with.
Question: How long can I leave my dog inside a crate or kennel?
Answer: No more than 9 hours. They will need a larger space to explore so they won’t get bored. Only leave them in their crates if you know that you will come back after this timeslot. They will also need to go potty and urinate just like people, so leaving them in a crate for very long hours will not be good for your dog, especially when they have separation anxiety.
Question: Is it okay to leave food and water inside their crate?
Answer: It’s advisable not to leave food and water inside the crate with your dogs. There are a lot of potentially messy situations that can be caused by leaving them with food and water. However, you can install a mounted water dispenser in the crate for your dog if it is necessary.
Tips on crate training senior dogs:
- Introduce them slowly to their crate, preferably in a happy, upbeat voice
- Don’t force them to enter their crate, instead you can use treats to lure them inside
- If they don’t fully enter in the first try, it’s alright, you can try again!
- Don’t close the door on the first time they get into the crate by themselves. Once their used to being inside the crate, you can close the door for a few minutes.
- Patience is key! Do these activities over the course of a few weeks until they’re totally comfortable being inside the crate.
What to look for in a pet crate for dogs with separation anxiety
Large space where your dog can comfortably sit or stand
It’s obvious that you should get a crate large enough to fit your dog. But you should still get a crate that can contain your dog with space to spare. This way your dog can move around a bit inside their kennel and find a comfortable position where they can relax.
Strong locks and bolts
If your dog is desperate enough to get out of their crates, they will try to nudge the locks of their kennels with their noses or paws. Make sure that the crate you choose have dog-proof locks or double locking systems to keep your dog inside the crate.
Anxiety for dogs sometimes stem from not seeing their owners. That’s why crates with strong but thin bars are the best option for dogs with separation anxiety. They will need to have a visual on you to keep them calm and worry-free.
If you leave an anxious dog in a crate for a few hours, you have to keep them as comfortable as possible. A bunch of towels, cushion, or blankets are enough to lay on the crate’s floor so your dog can nap and sleep comfortably inside their kennels.
Toys and other comforting tools
You can leave a few of your dog’s favorite toys inside their kennels, so they can have something to play with and distract them while you are out. Anything that your dog finds comfort in, you should put with your pet inside their kennels. There should be enough space inside the crate with both your dog and their toys in it.
Best Dog Crates for Separation Anxiety
Heavy Duty Crate for Dogs with Separation Anxiety – Impact Collapsible Aluminum Kennel
The best features of the Impact Kennel are its durability and collapsible properties. Once its locking mechanisms are unfastened, it will fold in itself and transform into an easy-to-carry form that is also a space saver inside the car, closet, or garage. Its thick, aluminum construction is reinforced with marine-grade stainless-steel latches and crush-proof corners.
This escape-proof and portable crate is also friendly to dogs with separation anxiety, since it has plenty of airholes that can give them good visibility. Your dog can’t escape this crate, no matter how much they scratch or try to chew on its interior.
- Collapsible feature makes it easy to carry and store away
- Made from heavy duty aluminum and stainless-steel materials
- Has plenty of air holes for ventilation and visibility
- Escape-proof slam lock that can’t be nudged open by dogs
- Can also be an indoor or outdoor crate
- Assembly might be difficult for people not used to them
- Might be a little expensive for some owners
Best Travel Crate for Dogs with Separation Anxiety – PetMate Sky Kennel
The PetMate Sky Kennel is a standard designed crate perfect for air travel and outdoor use. It features a vaulted door to prevent you escape artist dogs from getting out, as well as keep the crate steady and stable during travel.
The PetMate Sky Kennel is made from heavy duty plastic with 360-degree ventilation for maximum breathability. It also ensures that your pup won’t be able to claw or chew their way out of the crate when their anxiety gets a hold of them. The visibility this kennel provides can also lessen your dog’s anxiety when inside the crate.
- Standard crate suitable for airline travel
- Heavy duty plastic for escape-proof feature
- 4-way vault door for added security and stability
- 360-degree ventilation and visibility
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Has accessories made for air travel
- Plastic bolts might need to be replaced with metal ones for air travel
- Size chart may be confusing to some owners
Indoor/Outdoor Kennel for Crate-Trained Dogs – AmazonBasics Folding Crate
If your dog is already crate trained and won’t try to chew their way out of their kennel, then the AmazonBasics Folding Crate can be a comfortable indoor or outdoor kennel for your dog. This folding crate has a PVC frame and polyester fabric that is easy to manipulate when setting up or disassembling.
Its openings can be rolled up and closed with zippers and fastened with straps to keep them open. Its mesh windows are also great for breathability, making it a perfect den for dogs who love the outdoors. Its soft interior makes staying inside comfortable for the dog, allowing it easier for them to travel or treat it as just a comfy room to sleep in.
- Maximum ventilation and visibility
- Two-way openings to make it easier to load the dog
- Folds flat and easy to put away
- Lightweight materials great for long car rides
- Soft interior for ultimate comfort for your dog
- Zippers might be a little noisy for anxious dogs
- Might be too fragile for larger breeds
Most Durable Kennel for Dogs who Chew – SliveryLake 3XL Cage
Keep your dog from chewing their way out of their crates with the SliveryLake Cage. This heavy-duty, all metal construction is an escape proof crate for dogs with separation anxiety. It has four casters so you can move it around easily if needed, two of which are lockable so they can stay put if you want. They are also removable if you don’t need the wheels.
The SliveryLake Cage can be sturdy against larger dog breeds and can withstand their storming. It can be opened from the top and one door on the front, which are both locked with latches. It’s metal bars also gives 360-degree visibility so your dog can see their surroundings and not amp up their anxiety.
This crate also provides a metal grate floor, with a tray that can hold your dog’s pee if they accidentally urinate inside the cage. It can slid off for easy cleanup.
- Heavy-duty metal crate that can withstand chewing or storming
- Maximum visibility and two openings for easy loading
- Secure latches to keep your dog inside when you are out
- Four casters available if they need to be transported
- Grate flooring if your dog is prone to peeing while inside a crate
- Includes a tray that can catch their urine
- Grate flooring might be a little uncomfortable for the dog
- Simple latch might be easy to open for extra smart dogs
Chew-Proof Metal Crate for Dogs with Anxiety – MidWest Ultima Pro Folding Crate
The MidWest Ultima Pro is another steel cage like the SliveryLake, but with slimmer wires. These wires, however, are made from the heaviest wire there is. It will definitely frustrate your dog if they can’t chew out of it, but it helps them calm down when they figure out that they won’t be able to get out of their crate.
This durable crate is also easy to assemble and can be folded flat for easy storage. It even has a carrying handle when folded to make it easier to bring anywhere. It has two doors to make effortless entry for your pup, as well as a sheet pan where your dog can lay comfortably with or without padding.
Another feature that the MidWest Ultima Pro has is their divider that you can slot in place inside the crate, so you can buy a large version of it and reduce the space inside to fit puppies. This way you can crate train your pup early and adjust the divider to fit their current size.
- Durable and heavy wire grids that are chew-proof
- Two-door opening for easy load
- Secure latches for escape-proof crate
- Foldable kennel with handle for portability
- Flat sheet pan for a comfortable stay
- Divider included for puppies and small dogs
- If your dog is not crate trained and can be violent, it may do harm on the crate
- Latches might not line up at first, but their newer model did an upgrade on their doors and locks