If your Chihuahua is the only pet in your home then there’s a chance that at some point he or she will suffer some form of separation anxiety. In this article we discuss the signs to look out for and different ways you can help your Chi cope.
Chihuahuas are known for their shaky little bodies and their nervous tendencies. Just like us, they get stressed out! Each and every Chi will show their anxiety is different ways, depending on their personality, lifestyle and mindset. Trembling, pacing and whining are all obvious signs of distress. However, there are other signs of separation anxiety. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms, as well as treatment and prevention options.
Signs Your Chi is Experiencing Separation Anxiety
- Shows overly excited emotions when you open the door
- Claws at the door or floor when they are shut out of the room away from you
- Follows you nervously around the house
- Barks, whines/whimpers or howls
- Scratching at your legs to be picked-up
- Licking or chewing on their legs or body
- Tears up clothing or furniture when left alone
- Uses the bathroom inside the house
- Changes in appetite
Two approaches many people chose are to punish their Chihuahua for exhibiting these behaviors and to put them in a crate. Both of these remedies make separation anxiety worse. To overcome a behavioral problem in your Chi, you have to soften your returns and exits. It’s hard to not love on your Chi before you leave, but exiting your home quietly may benefit your Chi’s behavioral problems. By leaving without making a big deal about it shows your Chihuahua that leaving is okay and you’ll return soon.
As your fur baby’s one-and-only, it’s important that you work to treat their separation anxiety before it gets out of hand. You can start by leaving your home for 10 to 20 minutes a day. Taking steps such as this can help your Chi grow accustomed to you leaving and returning.
You may want to consider some herbal anxiety chews formulated specifically for dogs. For severe cases of separation anxiety, veterinarians will turn to medications such as benzodiazepines, oxidase inhibitors, antidepressants and serotonin. These medications are only temporary solutions. In order to get to the root of the problem, it will take time and persistence from you.
Below are some issues that can cause a dog to have anxiety.
If Your Chi Thinks He’s Alpha
Does your Chi think he is the king, a leader among dogs and humans? If the answer is yes, then this could be the reason your fur baby experiences separation anxiety. Chihuahuas need to know their place in a pack, and often times they think they are the leader. If you do not assert yourself as the alpha leader, you Chi assume they have to fulfill that role. When you leave the house, your tiny Chi becomes frantic because they have no way to “lead” you.
Long Goodbyes and Feisty Hellos
As mentioned before, long goodbyes and cuddles hello have the opposite effect than on Chi’s. It’s important to ignore your Chi for 10-to-20 minutes before you leave home and for at least 10 minutes after you arrive. This behavior helps you fur baby realize that going and coming are natural. It also establishes the fact that you are in control and the alpha leader.
Chihuahuas are social animals and need playtime with mates. To help with separation anxiety, it’s best to find a playmate for you Chi because they may just be lonely. If another animal is not an option, consider doggy daycare or even have a friend or neighbor come by to play with your pup.
Make sure that your Chi is getting lots of exercise as well, either from daily walks or playtime. Give your fur baby interactive toys for brain training, or have them participate in games. Chihuahuas love attention and affection, showing them a good time will help ease separation anxiety.
Tips for Helping with Your Chihuahua’s Separation Anxiety
- Do not love on your Chihuahua before you leave the home and when you enter the home.
- Have music or the television running for background noise.
- Leave their favorite toys and blankets in the open.
- Have your Chihuahua learn basic commands.
- Give your Chi a piece of clothing or an item with your scent to help calm them.
- Invest in a tight-fitting shirt to help with comfort.
- Try hiding an all natural calming soft chew in their bed before you leave. This will take their mind off you leaving and help calm them down.
Behavioral issues such as separation anxiety are hard to overcome and very rarely will just one of these methods work on its own. You have to take small steps and overcome obstacles one at a time. First, your Chihuahua needs to know that coming and going is a part of everyday life. Chihuahua’s love to cling to their owners, but just like children, it’s healthy for them to spend time away from you. Let them have independent time or enroll them in half-a-day doggy daycare. Establishing a normal routine of independence will help your pint-sized pup shake their separation anxiety.
A Chihuahua with a scattered schedule is less likely to notice disturbance in routines. It’s best if you can mix your Chi’s routines up such as walks, doggie daycare, or even play dates with friends and neighbors. Try something as simple as a walk to help calm your pup. A tired Chi is always a happier Chi.
Lend a Helping Paw
There is not easy and quick solution to helping your Chi through separation anxiety. Do not brush this behavior off as a Chihuahua personality trait. Emotional stress is a problem for your fur baby and yourself. Find out why your Chi is experiencing separation anxiety and see which measures fit your Chi best. Try using the above methods to help ease your Chi’s stress.
Handling your Chi’s separation anxiety can be frustrating for you, but it’s always worse on your fur baby. The healing process takes time and patience on your part. The right guidance from you is the best gift you can give to your Chihuahua.