Dogs often become anxious when their normal state of living is disrupted. At times, the anxiety is directly related to separation from family members, but there are other times the dog might just feel nervous. Knowing the cause of the dog’s anxiety can help prevent it in the future and comfort the dog during current anxiousness. Symptoms of anxiety in dogs include throwing up, pacing constantly, urinating where it knows it shouldn’t and whining. If the dog ordinarily does not exhibit such signs, an anxiety attack might be the cause of such behavior.
Prevent separation anxiety before the dog has an outburst of fear. Sherry Woodard of the Best Friends Animal Society recommends spending time away from the pet on an everyday basis in the form of brief comings and goings. Rewarding the dog with a treat when you leave, but not upon return, may keep the dog from fearing your absence. This may help more for new dogs than dogs that have been in the family for a while.
Avoid making a big deal out of going away for more than a day. Pedigree.com recommends trying to make departures and arrivals fairly quiet so the dog does not pick up on raised levels of emotion. This goes for everyday errands and works for longer vacations as well.
Determine if your dog behaves better in a crate. Some dogs try to hide during periods of anxiety, so if you know where they are and can check in on their behavior, keeping them in a crate might satisfy both you and the dog. However, if the dog attempts to escape the crate and tries to claw out of it rather than curl up inside, do not keep it in the crate.
Distract the dog with activities that hold its attention. Giving it a little bit of affection, such as rubbing its fur, playing fetch for a few minutes or taking it for a walk, will help ease the animal's anxiety.
Keep your voice lowered at a calm level, especially when getting ready to leave. If you sound stressed or rushed and raise your voice, your dog will pick up on this and get hyper or start whining. Dogs are more likely to remain well-behaved and less anxious if your attitude and voice exude a calm demeanor.
Acclimate the dog to boarding kennels before leaving it there for several days, if possible. Some kennels offer daycare services for anxious dogs to interact with the staff and other animals without staying overnight. If this is not available, ask the kennel if you can send the dog with a favorite toy or old piece of clothing that has your scent on it. This sense of home and normality helps calm some dogs during boarding.