Just like humans, some dogs can suffer from anxiety and anxiety disorders. Whether it’s because of a move, a new family member, or just their general disposition, dogs may become anxious. One of the most common forms of anxiety in dogs is separation anxiety, which stems from them being away from their owner for long periods of time. While all dogs may have some degree of separation anxiety, certain breeds are more prone to it than others.
Let’s look at what separation anxiety in dogs is, how it may present itself, and which dog breeds are prone to anxiety.
What is Separation Anxiety?
According to the ASPCA, “separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they’re attached to.” Separation anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, including urinating and defecating in the house, destroying things, or trying to escape. Unfortunately, some owners might identify this behavior as bad training or the dog just wanting to act up, but in reality, these may be signs of an underlying anxiety issue. It’s important to identify the reasons behind your dog’s outbreaks, one of which may be separation anxiety.
Dog Breeds Prone to Anxiety
While most dogs may experience anxiety in some form throughout their life, there are specific dog breeds that are more prone to anxiety than others. Below are some dog breeds that may have a higher chance of having separation anxiety:
Border Collies have been bred for work and they use both their brains and their brawn. They are known for their amazing tricks, shows, and ability to be trained complex tricks, but this all means that they don’t like to spend too much time alone or being bored. This intelligence may present itself as destructive habits like tearing the house apart and your Border Collie may suffer from separation anxiety.
What to do: If you have a Border Collie that has separation anxiety, consider spending more time at home or scheduling a dog sitter to come and entertain your Collie. You may also want to play lots of brain games with your dog when he is home to help him exercise his smarts.
Like Border Collies, German Shepherds are one of the smartest dog breeds there is, which is why they are used for a variety of jobs from police help to being a seeing-eye dog. German Shepherds are also bred to truly be man’s best friend, which means that when left alone they get lonely and may experience separation anxiety.
What to do: Make sure your German Shepherd is being exercised to his full potential, both physically and mentally. German Shepherds might not be the best fit for families that are gone for long periods of time, so consider this before adding one to your family.
Bichon Frises were bred to be the perfect little companion and they are happiest when they are in a handbag, cuddled up in a lap, and being the center of attention. While this love is affectionate when you’re around, it can turn destructive because Bichon Frises don’t like to be left alone due to their separation anxiety.
What to do: If you have a Bichon Frise, you likely know that he loves attention. Make sure to pay your fluffy friend plenty of it to decrease the chances of him getting anxiety.
Labrador Retrievers are bred to be both working dogs and family dogs, which means that they are smart, loyal, and great companions. They love being by your side and will be a lifelong best friend. This does mean, though, that they may suffer from separation anxiety because they are so close to their owners.
What to do: If you are lucky enough to bring a Lab home, make sure to give him lots of love. Labs are great with children and other dogs, so if for some reason you can’t be home with your pup, consider getting a pair so they can keep each other company. Labs are one of the most social breeds, so make sure he gets enough mental stimulation, as well.
Anxiety, and specifically separation anxiety, is relatively common in dogs. But some breeds, including those listed here, are more prone to anxiety.