Dog Toys to Aid with Separation Anxiety
Unfortunately, many dogs can get stressed out if they have to be away from their owner or suffer from separation anxiety when you have to leave them or put them in their crate. There are calming supplements available that can help reduce separation anxiety in dogs. But, I have come to realize that many toys that you might provide a new puppy with to keep them calm when crate training are also great toys that can help dogs with separation anxiety as well.
If you have a dog that suffers from separation anxiety, it will generally be for the first 20 minutes after you leave, then most will settle down after that. The best dog toys for separation anxiety will keep them distracted for immediately after you leave your home and will provide them with some comfort until they can settle on their own.
If you are unsure if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you can learn more information on separation anxiety.
Anxiety Relief Heartbeat Toy
I absolutely love these toys not only for dogs that have separation anxiety, but also for puppies or dogs of all ages that are new to your family. It can make crate training much easier and helps rescue dogs as well. The stuffed dog helps recreate maternal intimacy by having a pulsing heartbeat and can provide physical warmth. It appeals to dogs’ natural instincts by providing dogs the feeling of being with others in their pack. It helps with crate training, reduces stress, and eases loneliness, fear, and separation anxiety.
If you have a new puppy, a rescue dog or a dog that suffers from separation anxiety, these little soft dogs will help them feel safer and calmer. Most of these toys are machine washable on a gentle cycle after removing the heartbeat pack from its pocket. This is a safe way to keep your dog calm and less stressed. Much better than having to drug your dog when leaving or having to restrain them.
Like I mentioned above, usually dogs that have separation anxiety, happens immediately when you leave the house. If you have something of value to offer them that will take their mind off the situation and keep them busy for that first 15 to 20 minutes, your dog will remain much calmer.
Dog Puzzles are one of those tools that you can use to redirect your dog’s focus, and it also is a great mental puzzle to help prevent dog boredom. With these puzzles there are multiple treat compartments that give your dog many ways to play with the puzzle. They can flip the lids, slide the compartments, or pull off covers to uncover tasty treats.
I recommend starting out using puppy toys, even for older dogs, it will make it easier for your dog to find the treats and learn how it works. As they get more familiar with the puzzle, you can add more challenges. The more covered compartments you use, the harder the puzzle is to solve. These toys can occupy anxious dogs and keep them busy until they are less stressed, and it provides plenty of mental stimulation for your dog as well. They are easily hand washed with soap and water to keep it clean and ready to go the next time you want to keep your dog busy and challenged.
Kong Classic Dog Toy
It seems that all of my dogs have had a Kong, and none of them have taken any interest in this toy. That is because I was not using it correctly. A Kong is make of ultra-durable rubber that can help provide metal and physical stimulation. It helps solve chewing problems, separation anxiety, teething and boredom. It is a chew toy, fetch toy and a treat puzzle all in one. The unpredictable bounce makes it fun for a game of fetch.
Stuff the Kong with kibble, peanut butter, treats or frozen treats for making it even more challenging and last longer. Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety (and all dogs) will be really focused on getting the treats out of the Kong and by the time they are done with that they are generally calmer than when you first walk out of the door.
Kong also makes Kong Easy Treat, which is a treat that you can directly spray inside the Kong. It comes in several flavors including peanut butter and pepperoni. The mental stimulation provided by trying to get the treats out will help tire out your dog making them more likely to rest after they are done. The Kong is dishwasher safe, made in the United States and comes in 6 sizes to find just the right size for your dog. When in doubt about sizing, go one size up.
Old T-shirt or Shoe
Here is something that will not cost you anything. Give your dog an old T-shirt or shoe for them to snuggle with or chew on. Your scent on the clothing will help calm your dog down and feel like you are still with them. Having something familiar around them will help them feel calmer. This also works great for dogs that have to go to kennels. Having the scent of you around them helps them to feel more relaxed.
Calming Dog Music
I realize that music is not actually a toy to help calm down a dog with separation anxiety, but it is something that you can try to help keep you dog calm. In several studies done related to music for dogs, it was found that dogs listening to classical music showed a significant calming effect. The study showed that the dogs rested more, spend more of their time being quiet and spend less time standing when the music has a tempo of 50 to 60 beats per minute. This is generally classical music, reggae, and some soft rock. They also do better with a single instrument at a slower tempo.
Music that is designed for dogs is bio acoustically composed to appeal to a dog’s sense of hearing. Not only will it help calm your dog, but it will also help cover up outside noises that could trigger your dog to barking or stress. Through A Dog’s Ear is a CD of classical piano music that is recommended by veterinarians and behavior specialists to help dogs that suffer from stressed related behavior problems or separation anxiety.
Having a dog that has separation anxiety can be stressful for you and your dog. Try to work slowly with them and leave for shorter periods of time and gradually work the amount of time you will be gone to longer periods of time.
Making sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise, like a nice walk or run before you are leaving will help them be tired and more likely to sleep when you do need to leave. This list of best dog toys for separation anxiety are all items that will help you dog either rest easier or keep them busy when you first leave which is the toughest time for them. None of them are very expensive, so you might want to try a few different options if you are not sure which will work best. Keeping your dog calm when you leave will help for less destructive behavior in your home and help you feel less nervous every time you must leave your dog behind.