Where Should a Dog With Separation Anxiety Sleep?

The bond between you and your dog is unbreakable, a cherished connection that brings joy to your life every day. Your loyal companion follows you around, tail wagging, eyes shining with adoration. Yet, there are times when your dog’s separation anxiety can turn simple outings into distressing moments for them. Those instances of ruined furniture and heart-wrenching cries when you leave can be symptoms of a deeper issue - separation anxiety in dogs. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of canine separation anxiety, explore its symptoms, causes, and most importantly, provide effective solutions to help your furry friend rest easy even when you’re not by their side. 

Understanding Canine Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs is a common condition in which your four-legged companion exhibits signs of distress and unease when left alone. Regardless of age or breed, many dogs can experience this emotional challenge, leading to behavioural problems that leave owners bewildered and concerned. Recognising the signs of separation anxiety is the first step toward providing the right care for your beloved pet.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

The telltale signs of separation anxiety often manifest as destructive behaviours. Your dog’s attempts to cope with their anxiety can result in damaged furniture, excessive barking or howling, pacing, and even relieving themselves indoors. These actions might be misinterpreted as mischief, but they’re actually cries for help from a furry friend feeling lost and overwhelmed. 

Causes of Separation Anxiety 

Understanding the underlying causes of separation anxiety is crucial to implementing effective solutions. A variety of factors can contribute to your dog’s anxiety, ranging from early abandonment experiences to genetic predisposition. Environmental changes, such as moving to a new home or adjusting to a different schedule, can also trigger this condition. Identifying the root cause is essential to tailoring the right approach to alleviate your dog’s distress.

Differentiating Anxiety from Other Behaviours

Distinguishing between genuine separation anxiety and other behaviours, such as boredom or reaction to external stimuli, can be challenging. To accurately assess your dog’s condition, consider recording their behaviour when you’re not around. Continuous barking or agitation within the first few minutes of your departure is more indicative of separation anxiety, while sporadic noise-making might be a sign of restlessness or boredom. 

Effective Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions 

If your furry companion is indeed grappling with separation anxiety, rest assured there are several strategies you can employ to help them find comfort when you’re not home:

Limit Goodbyes - Avoid dramatic farewells that can intensify your dog’s anxiety. Keep your departure low-key and routine.

Strategic Distractions - It's important to have your dog toy basket full! Provide engaging toys or puzzles to divert your dog’s attention and keep them occupied during your absence. 

Desensitisation to Departure Cues - Gradually desensitise your dog to your departure routine by practising short departures and gradually increasing the time you’re away. 

Background Noise - Leave a radio or TV on at low volume to provide comforting background noise that can help soothe your dog’s nerves. 

Consider Crate Training - For some dogs, a crate can create a secure den-like space, reducing their anxiety by offering a safe haven. 

Preventing Separation Anxiety

Prevention is key to managing separation anxiety effectively. Implement these preventive measures to ensure your dog grows comfortable with spending time alone:

Early Training - Start training your dog to tolerate alone time from an early age, gradually extending the duration as they become more comfortable. 

Regular Exercise - Engage your furry friend in regular physical activities to burn off excess energy, promoting a calmer state of mind. 

Avoid Punishment - Refrain from punishing your dog for anxious behaviours. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and creating a supportive environment. 

Moderate Alone Time - Minimise extended periods of solitude and consider dog care services if necessary for longer absences.

Dealing with Night-time Separation Anxiety

Night-time separation anxiety can pose unique challenges. To help your dog sleep soundly even when you’re not by their side, consider these suggestions:

Refrain from Reacting - Resist the urge to respond to nighttime howling or scratching, as this could reinforce anxious behaviour. 

Distance Training - Gradually move your dog bed or dogs sleeping spot further away from your bedroom, helping them become accustomed to separation.

Minimise Bedtime Fuss - Keep bedtime rituals low-key to avoid triggering anxiety. Quietly retire to bed without overly emotional goodbyes. 

Engaging Toys - Get the right dog accessories that suit your dog. Provide treat-dispensing toys or puzzles to keep your dog occupied and distract from anxiety. 


Your dog’s separation anxiety is a challenge that requires patience, understanding, and a proactive approach. By recognising the symptoms, understanding the causes, and implementing effective strategies, you can help your beloved companion feel more at ease during times of solitude. Whether through early training, environmental enrichment, or seeking professional guidance when necessary, you can provide the support your dog needs to overcome separation anxiety and enjoy peaceful rest even when you’re not at home. Remember, a little effort on your part can make a world of difference in your furry friend’s emotional well-being.