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Separation anxiety in Golden retrievers, what it is and how to help your dog

Separation anxiety in Golden retrievers, what it is and how to help your dog

Golden retrievers, and dogs in general, have an unconditional bond with their owners, this bond is sometimes so strong that your precious pup might develop separation anxiety.

But what is separation anxiety? It’s the fear of losing or getting detached from something or someone you love. So it’s not unusual that a dog when it’s separated from its owner, experiences anxiety, sadness, and in severe cases even depression.

How to treat separation anxiety

To treat separation anxiety your vet can always prescribe a certain medicine, however, this too is only a temporary solution. It’s much better to treat the root cause that is behind your dog’s separation anxiety. 

Dealing with separation anxiety the right way

Firstly, you have to stop rewarding (giving treats) your dog when it’s crying just to show them sympathy.

Dog owners tend to unknowingly reinforce the behavior that later leads to separation anxiety. When your dog exhibits anxiety symptoms like crying, howling, whining when you’re about to leave, and you give him a treat to make it feel better, that’s when you’re rewarding your dog. You should try and train your dog from a very young age to stay quiet and calm by positive reinforcement and giving them a treat or their favorite food ONLY when they stay quiet.

Another helpful thing would be providing your dog with interactive games or toys that can keep them busy for longer periods.

You could also try and make changes in your and your dog’s daily routine. Instead of going for a walk in the evening, you might want to get up a little earlier in the morning and go on a long walk with your furry friend. Working out releases stress hormones and it will also make them tired, and therefore they might not even notice you’re gone.

Making them a „safe place“ might help too. Crate train your dog from an early age. This will give them a cozy place to curl up when you are gone. When you are home, get them used to the idea that their crate is a safe place for them to rest. 

What if your dog already has separation anxiety

Like we’ve already mentioned, you can talk to your vet about anxiety medication, however, there are also natural ways in helping your dog deal with separation anxiety.

Herbs:

Herbs can be used in calming your dog. St. Jon’s Wort for example can be a very effective anti-depressant and is great for separation anxiety.  However, be sure to buy organic! It can be made into a tea or used in a tincture or capsule form.

Flower Essences:

There is a product called Rescue Remedy that is made especially for pets. It is a combination of many essences and can be very effective in helping your precious pal. To use this product simply put 4 drops into your dog’s food, water bowl, or on a treat.

Essential Oils:

Aromatherapy with essential oils can be helpful in cases of separation anxiety.

Try Neroli, Violet Leaf, Vetiver, Lavender, Rose hydrosol. Combine 5 drops stock blend oil of each into 2oz of the Rose hydrosol and place it in a diffuser. Be sure your dog can leave the room if he chooses. They have very sensitive noses.

Another way of using essential oils would be making a calming mist for your dog by combining

½ oz neroli (Citrus aurantium) hydrosol

½ oz blue chamomile (Matricaria recutita) hydrosol

5 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

Mix these together in a spray bottle, shake before using, and mist your dog. This is safe to do because the oils are diluted. You can keep this mixture in the refrigerator for up to 6 months

Disclaimer: Essential oils are not the same as flower essences. Never let your dog lick or otherwise ingest essential oils and never apply undiluted essential oils to your dog’s fur or skin!