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How Can I Help My Puppy Feel Comfortable and At Ease When Home Alone?


Dear VetBabble,

My puppy has a hard time staying by herself, and she cries and chews her crate when she’s alone. How can I make her more comfortable being alone and help her feel more at ease? Is a thunder shirt a good option for her?

Understanding Puppy Separation Anxiety

It’s normal for puppies to experience some degree of separation anxiety when they’re left alone, as they’re used to being with their mother and littermates. However, it’s important to address this issue early on to prevent it from becoming a more severe problem as your puppy grows older. Separation anxiety can manifest in different ways, including crying, chewing, and destructive behaviors when you’re not around. There are both medical and non-medical ways to help your puppy feel more comfortable being alone, like using a thunder shirt or crate training.

A thunder shirt is designed to apply gentle and constant pressure to your puppy’s body, which can help them feel more secure and calm. It’s similar to swaddling a baby or giving a hug to a person. This gentle pressure can have a soothing effect on the nervous system, making it a great non-medical option to help your puppy cope with separation anxiety. For more information on separation anxiety, check out this article on Separation Anxiety: When Your Dog Can’t Be Alone.

Addressing Noise Phobias and Anxiety

Some puppies may also develop noise phobias which can contribute to stress and anxiety when they’re alone. It’s important to identify the triggers for your puppy’s anxiety, whether it’s loud noises, new people, or other environmental stressors. Once you know the triggers, you can take steps to help your puppy feel more secure and less anxious. If loud noises are a problem for your puppy, you might want to consider reading, My Dog is Scared of Loud Noises: What Should I Do Help? which provides valuable information to address noise phobias.

Along with using a thunder shirt, make sure your puppy has a quiet and comfortable space where they can retreat when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed by noise. This might mean moving their crate to a quieter part of your home or providing white noise, like a fan or calming music, to help drown out any disturbing sounds.

Crate Training and Helping Your Puppy Adjust to Alone Time

As a pet owner, it’s essential to teach your puppy how to be comfortable being alone. Crate training can be an effective way to help your puppy adjust to being alone in a safe and controlled environment. Make sure to provide your puppy with a comfortable crate that’s the right size and filled with familiar toys, blankets, and treats to help them feel at ease. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend in the crate while you’re away, and reward your puppy with praise and treats when they’re calm and well-behaved inside the crate.

As many pet owners return to work, it’s crucial to prepare your dog for the change in routine. Create a consistent schedule for feeding, walking, and playtime, so your pet has a sense of stability even when you’re not home. For more tips on preparing your dog for your return to the office, check out Back to Work: How to Prepare Your Dog for Your Return to the Office.

In summary, it’s essential to address your puppy’s separation anxiety and help them feel comfortable being alone. A thunder shirt can be a great non-medical option to assist in calming your puppy, but it’s also important to consider crate training and gradually adjusting them to being alone. With patience and persistence, your puppy will learn to be at ease when you’re not around, creating a happier and healthier environment for both you and your furry friend.

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