Are Beagles Prone To Separation Anxiety?
Beagles are pack dogs, meaning they have evolved over time to work, live, and play as a group. They thrive off of companionship and are a very social and engaging breed. Their devotion to human companions or litter mates can create anxiety when one of both are not present.
Beagles ARE prone to separation anxiety, which is more than just boredom, it covers a collection of emotions and behaviors that can be triggered when isolated or stressed.
In this article, we will discuss the possible causes of separation anxiety, symptoms to look out for and treatment ideas to help your beagle cope with their anxious emotions.
Separation Anxiety In Beagles
Causes of Separation Anxiety in Beagles
Separation anxiety is a complex issue that can have multiple causes. In order to effectively treat your beagle for any anxiety issues, it is important determine the root cause or causes of separation anxiety.
Although it can be hard to pinpoint exactly, here are several common causes of separation anxiety in beagles. If one or more of these are applicable to your beagle’s anxiety, it is important to further discuss with your veterinarian. Also, refer to the Treatments section in this article below.
- Genetics – Just like humans, mental health and brain chemistry can be a genetic trait that gets passed down from your parents or previous generations. There are veterinarian approved medications that can aid or wearable products to curb anxiety (think Thundershirts for dogs).
- Past Negative Experiences – A dog’s memory is pretty spectacular. If your beagle had any previous emotional experiences when left alone, there is a good chance that this is one of the main causes for their current separation anxiety. Did a delivery person startle your beagle with a loud, aggressive, knock on the door? Was Ms. Beagle being mischievous once before and tipped over a large potted plant, causing a huge mess and big boom? Or, did your pup fall down the stairs when left alone? Some of these could be hard to answer – after all they were likely alone – but, items to consider nonetheless.
- Lack of Socialization – If your beagle is overly dependent on one or two people, presumably their owner or owners, they can develop a dependency on them. Suddenly, when the owners step away for a period of time, your beagle becomes anxious. Socializing your beagle with plenty of human and canine friends will develop a variety relationships that your beagle can draw upon when lonely, additionally it will ease their dependency on just their owner.
- Change in Routine – Dogs, like humans, find comfort with routine and schedules. They quickly learn what is the “norm” and look forward to scheduled activities and routines that occur daily. Going for a walk before or after work, feeding time, nap time, play time – they are all fairly regular occurrences that your beagle can come to expect. A change in these routines can quickly become a negative experience and initiate different forms of anxiety – including separation anxiety.
The 1st step in helping your beagle with their anxiety is identifying the cause, or causes. With this knowledge it becomes easier to aid them with the proper treatment plan. Continue reading below for symptoms and treatments for separation anxiety.
Symptoms of Beagle Separation Anxiety
With a strong pack-dog mentality, your beagle can easily develop separation anxiety when they’re left alone. Age of your beagle can be a factor with anxiety as well; while an older beagle may just curl up in a ball and sleep away the time, a younger beagle will likely be a little more destructive and rebellious.
You’re not home, so how do you know if your beagle has separation anxiety? Obvious signs are destructive behavior and chewing, but also your neighbors may hear your beagle loudly barking or howling. An inexpensive wifi camera strategically placed within your home can quickly show you any separation related behaviors. Here’s our favorite in-home camera – super easy to set up, operate and great video quality. Clicking the image below will take you to the Amazon listing, where we may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase.
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The following are seven common signs your beagle may be feeling anxious when left by himself:
- Barking or Howling – Some barking when you leave is normal; however, if the barking persists for a long period of time this would be considered a top sign of separation anxiety.
- Whining – Whining or whimpering both prior to and while you’re away are clear signs your beagle isn’t happy with her isolation. Beagles quickly learn your preparation-for-departure signs. If they recognize that you’re planning to leave them they often whine or give off depressed body language.
- Destruction or Chewing – Perhaps the most obvious and common form of separation anxiety relief. When left alone, especially younger beagles, they’ll crew on furniture, pillows and rugs. Be sure to beagle-proof your house or the room they’ll be kept in while you’re away. Anything left out and within reach could be used for stress-relief destruction. Ask me how I know!!
- Pacing – Excessive pacing is a less common form of anxiety relief. Pacing can last for hours when stressed and can lead to exhaustion.
- Drooling – Excessive salivating is a clear sign that your beagle is experiencing anxiety related stress. Our beagle has never been a fan of riding in cars, and as such she drools uncontrollably. Similar observations regarding separation anxiety related drooling should be obvious when you’re preparing to leave the home, or you return home to a wet and slobberly beagle mouth.
- Escape Efforts – Maybe they aren’t attempting to escape as much as they’re trying to find you! Either way, watch for signs of scratching at the door, digging, jumping fences or rubbing against walls. Beagles can be very Houdini-like, don’t underestimate these attempts. Be sure your house, rooms and yard are very secure to prevent escaping.
- House Soiling – Your beagle may display their displeasure or stress by urinating or pooping around the house. This behavior should be corrected quickly or the use of a crate may become necessary when you leave.
10 Best Tips for Preventing Separation Anxiety in Beagles and Treatment Options
You’ve identified symptoms and possible causes for separation anxiety, now it’s time to implement a few tricks and treatments to help alleviate the issues.
Implementing several of the tips below, combined with patience and consistency, your beagle should be well on their way to discovering reduced stress and anxiety when you leave them alone.
#1 - Exercise
Getting plenty of exercise – via walks, playdates, dog parks, or retrieving – will have a significant impact on the overall health of your beagle, and an added bonus is your pup will look forward to a little down time to take a nap when you leave him alone for awhile.
#2 - Crate Training
This can be hard to implement with an older, mature, beagle. However, training your beagle to use their crate can be a huge benefit for reducing their anxiety levels. In time, the crate will be viewed as their den, so to speak. This will be their home within their home, a place for comfort and rest.
A beagle that’s comfortable with their crate is a beagle with reduced anxiety and also a beagle with no access to chew on furniture, urinate on the floor, or dig a hole in the rug…Assuming the owner keeps the crate door closed and locked, of course.
#3 - A Special Room
If you’d rather not go the route of using a crate, another great option is to identify and use one particular room in the house for keeping your beagle while you’re away. This can be a bedroom with a door, or a gated off living room. Similar to using a crate, your beagle will associate this room as their den and find comfort when left there. Provide a soft location to rest and plenty of toys.
#4 - Windows??
The presence of windows can either be helpful or a hindrance. It sounds nice to be able to look outside and observe birds, walkers or just the leaves blowing in the wind. Instead, these sights could trigger FOMO (fear of missing out).
Perhaps the sight of a dog walker causes barking or seeing a rabbit in the backyard is TOO stimulating. Experiment with keeping your beagle in a location both with and without windows, determining your beagle’s window preference will surely benefit their anxiety levels.
#5 - Background Noise or Music
Leaving the television or radio on, playing soothing spa sounds or finding a YouTube dog channel can be a beneficial distraction for your anxious beagle. These preferred background noises will help drown out anxiety-inducing noise from outside while also providing a slight distraction from being left alone. If you’re lucky, your beagle will take a liking to what’s on TV or YouTube and actually be entertained.
#6 - Interesting Toys
The right toys, especially comfort and companion toys are be very beneficial. Looks for toys the give off interesting sounds, speak, or mimic heartbeats. These types of toys can be a beneficial distraction while also providing comfort. Additionally, they can be an outlet for any urges to chew on something.
#7 - Medications
If separation anxiety is severe and becomes detrimental to the mental health of you or your pet it may be time to explore the use of medications to alleviate the separation anxiety. Discuss options with your veterinarian; there are numerous safe and effective alternatives that will calm your pup. PetMD discusses several medications here.
#8 - A Quality Bed
If your beagle doesn’t have a go-to chair or bed to use in their special room it’s important to purchase a high-quality supportive bed. A good bed will help with back, hip and joint issues and also be viewed by your beagle as their “den”.
#9 - Food and Water
Food or treats can be placed inside of a Kong or other sneaky toy as a distraction or entertainment. Make it a challenging game by using a combination of smooth peanut butter and their everyday dry dog food kibbles. Also provide ample water for your beagle. Use an anti-tip type of bowl or a special canine drinking fountain to maintain proper hydration throughout the day.
#10 - Break up the Day
As the family leaves the house for a full day of work or school your beagle may have to remain at home alone for an extended period of time. This is often inevitable, but any possibility to stop home during lunch or have a neighbor pop in can be beneficial. Getting a mid-day 15-30 minute walk can help alleviate stress and is a nice addition to their exercise routine. This quick interaction will help break up the day and also help extend their rest through the second half of the day.
Some owners believe it’s best to keep a dog at rest when calm in belief that stopping in for a short time will create additional anxiety when they leave again. We’ve found this is not to be the case, and rather, the quick visit is beneficial to both us and our pets.
Separation anxiety in beagles is a real concern. Identifying the issue and trying to determine the reasons anxiety builds is half the battle. But, once you have an understanding of your beagle’s anxiety is easier to implement tricks and treatments to help alleviate the stress.
Understand that your beagle is doing their best. A calm and reassuring demeanor is the best approach when trying to correct the separation anxiety situation. Getting angry and yelling will just make the anxiety and stress worse.