Portrait shot of a Jack Russell Terrier.

How to Comfort Your Dog With Separation Anxiety

Tips on managing your dog’s attachment anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs may show up through excessive barking, destructive behavior, restlessness, trembling, and loss of appetite. It can be stressful for the dog and the owner. It’s not a new problem for dog owners and there are various ways to comfort an anxious dog.

Up to 40% of dogs experience some form of anxiety, including separation anxiety, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Separation anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders in dogs, no matter the age, breed, or gender.

As a dog owner, it is important to understand how to comfort your pet and make them feel more relaxed and comfortable when you are away. Find out what causes this and how you can help support your dog in this article.

How Can You Comfort a Dog With Separation Anxiety?

A dog looking out a car

Separation anxiety in dogs can manifest in a list of ways, including excessive barking and destructive behavior. Here are some ways you can help comfort your dog and manage their anxiety:

Active Mind During Playtime

    Dogs are active creatures by nature and playtime is a good avenue for your dog to develop self-care habits. Sometimes, it doesn’t take a lot to keep them preoccupied. Give them toys, train them in puzzles, and keep providing activities that will stimulate their minds.

    Dr. Emily Levine, a veterinary behaviorist at the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, Oregon, recommends “using food puzzles or other interactive toys to keep your dog's mind busy while you're gone".

    Use Positive Reinforcement When Training

      Positive reinforcement is a great tool for managing a dog’s separation anxiety. Your goal during training is to make sure the dog stays calm when left alone. This can be done in a variety of ways.

      You can start leaving the dog for a short period by staying in another room. Reserve a special treat like soft chewy CBD dog treats to give the dog only when you’re about to leave the house. Ignore unwanted behaviors until they are calm. Then reward them with treats.

      Leave Your Dog in a Safe and Secure Space

        In a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, dogs are less likely to exhibit anxiety-related behaviors if they are given a safe and secure space. You can set up a crate or a designated area with a comfortable bed and toys within reach. 

        Make sure that the space is appropriately sized for your dog. Use the same space for activities like playtime to help them familiarize themselves with it comfortably.

        Be Soft and Gentle When Arriving or Leaving

          Sometimes, we can’t help it if we miss our dogs after a long day of work. We arrive with much excitement with our furry friends welcoming us at the front door.

          Making a big deal of your arrival and departure can cause anxiety in dogs. To correct this, act calm and casual when coming in and out of the door.

          Don’t Punish Your Dog for Anxiety-Related Behaviors

            Punishment may cause further stress and anxiety in a dog. Using positive reinforcement instead of punishments can encourage good behavior.

            When a dog’s separation anxiety is severe, seek professional help from your local dog trainer. With patience and consistency, the trainer can show you ways on managing a dog’s anxiety.

            Use CBD Oil for Managing a Dog’s Separation Anxiety

              Cannabidiol (CBD) products have been shown to have calming effects on humans and dogs with anxiety. It’s important to consult with your vet first so they can provide proper guidance on dosage.

              Choose a high-quality product like the Verma Farms CBD oil for your dog’s separation anxiety. It’s best to use it in conjunction with other management techniques.

              Learn more about how to give CBD to your pets here →.

              What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

              Sad dog on a couch looking out the window

              There are many causes of separation anxiety in dogs. It varies depending on the individual dog and their circumstance. Here are the most common causes:

              Early Separation From the Dog’s Mother

              When puppies are taken away too early from their mothers or before they are fully weaned, it causes difficulty in developing their social skills. They may also have trouble regulating their emotions or coping in stressful situations.

              Between three and twelve weeks is a critical time for a puppy’s development. It’s a time for them to learn socialization or cope when left alone.

              Over-Attachment to You, the Owner

              When a dog is over-reliant on their owner for emotional support and companionship, it is likely for them to develop separation anxiety. Dogs do, after all, form strong connections with their owners.

              Sometimes, giving excessive attention and reacting to your dog’s neediness is bad for them.

              Lack of Socialization With Other Dogs

              When a dog has not been socialized with other dogs, it may struggle to interact appropriately and may become anxious or fearful in social situations.

              It can also contribute to the development of fear and anxiety in dogs. Dogs that are not socialized may not be able to distinguish between normal social interaction and potential threats, leading to heightened anxiety and fear responses.


              Trauma causes long-term emotional and psychological effects. The trauma may have come from abuse, neglect, abandonment, or other traumatic events like a natural disaster.

              The traumatic incident may imprint on the dog and it may give them a heightened fear response.


              Genetics can make a dog more prone to anxiously separated behavior because some breeds have been selectively bred to be more dependent on human companionship and can be predisposed to anxiety-related behaviors.

              Additionally, some dogs may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders, including separation anxiety.

              Any of the reasons mentioned above cause dogs to grow with anxiety. As a result, they exhibit unhealthy behaviors like chewing your furniture or potty accidents even if they are potty trained. When left alone, they may also refuse to eat on their own or they may tremble or shake if they anticipate you leaving them.