The 11 Best Dog Crates For Anxious Dogs
Separation anxiety is a particularly aggravating issue for pet parents, and it is undoubtedly even more taxing for our four-legged friends.
Aside from the debate over wolf pack structure, dogs are inherently social animals. And once they form bonds â€“ whether with humans or other animals â€“ many of them do not like to be separated.
When left alone, these poor pooches frequently experience extreme anxiety and frequently act out in destructive and potentially dangerous ways.
The ProSelect Empire Dog Cage is one of the strongest crates on the market, designed to safely contain even the most anxious or aggressive dogs.
- A removable steel tray and four locking casters are included.
- 20-gauge reinforced steel bars with a high-quality hammertone finish.
- The market’s most powerful and secure option.
- Accidents are easily dealt with thanks to the removable steel tray.
- Casters make it simple to move the crate around your home. Secure, yet simple to use latches
- Not available in large enough sizes for extremely large dogs.
The Petmate Sky Kennel is a simple, high-quality kennel that will keep your pup safe and comfortable while you go about your business. Although the kennel is marketed to owners looking for an airplane-friendly kennel, it will also keep your separation-anxious dog safe while you are at work.
- Ample ventilation will keep your dog happy.
- Most airline requirements are met.
- Made in the United States
- Made with 25% recycled materials.
- It includes food and water cups.
- Crate is dark and secure, while still allowing for plenty of ventilation.
- Security is provided by 4-way vault-style latches.
- Most airlines will find this suitable.
- Simple to disassemble and store
- This crate has few flaws, but it isn’t as secure as some of the other options discussed here.
The unipaws End Table eliminates the need to sacrifice the elegance of your dÃ©cor in order to keep your dog happy. This crate blends in with the rest of your furniture while also providing a comfortable hiding spot for your dog.
It has a built-in cushion at the base to provide a safe place for your dog to rest, and the bars on the outside are chew-proof. It combines security and luxury without being intimidating to your canine companion.
It’s also well-ventilated and has plenty of sightlines, so your dog can see everything going on around them. This makes it ideal for entertaining guests because you can put your pet in the cage while still allowing them to participate in the conversation.
However, the unit’s rear is not nearly as secure as the rest of it. Because it is made of a cheap particle board cutout, it must be placed against something secure, such as a wall.
Because it is only available in one color, we hope it complements your existing furniture. Assembly is also a chore.
Overall, the unipaws End Table is an appealing, unconventional option that both your dog and your company will appreciate.
The MidWest iCrate is one of the simplest crates to assemble, so you can use it anywhere â€” even while traveling.
It has two doors, making it easy to enter and exit even with a scared or stubborn pup. This also makes it easier to get the dog in and out of the car, allowing you to transport nervous animals without difficulty.
If your dog has an accident, the plastic pan at the bottom is simple to clean. It also has raised edges to prevent liquids from leaking onto your carpet.
It’s designed to roll around on the ground, but the casters didn’t get the memo, as it’s a pain to move (especially on carpet). It also runs small, making it unsuitable for larger breeds.
The worst part, however, is that the latches have no give to them. While this may appear to be a good thing, it also means that your dog can break free with little effort. You should be fine as long as your dog doesn’t notice â€” but if they do, you’ll need a new crate.
It is also prone to rusting, but given its low cost, you shouldn’t expect it to last forever.
The MidWest iCrate is a good, low-cost option that will get the job done, but don’t expect it to perform as well as its more expensive counterparts.
Canine Separation Anxiety Symptoms
When left alone in the house, many dogs get into mischief.
They may go through the garbage to find something tasty or sleep on a bed that is normally off-limits. However, most dogs behave reasonably well when left alone and do not cause too much damage.
Separation anxiety in dogs, on the other hand, is a different story.
These dogs struggle greatly when left alone, even if their owner is only gone for 10 or 15 minutes. Some of the most common ways dogs express (and attempt to cope with) anxiety are as follows:
- Destructive Chewing – Because dogs interact with the world through their mouths, chewing on something can help them feel better when they are scared or upset.
- Unfortunately, they frequently enjoy chewing on something that smells like you, and they can destroy priceless possessions in the blink of an eye.
- Excessive Pacing – Nervous energy can cause anxious people, including dogs, to pace back and forth. Nervous puppies may pace randomly around the house or walk back and forth in a line, retracing their steps.
- Panicking Before You Leave – Perceptive dogs who dislike being alone often pick up on small cues that indicate your impending departure. As a result, whenever you grab your keys or put on your shoes, you may notice your dog frantically walking around the house, leaning up against you and shadowing your movements.
- Constant Hooting and Hollering – If you frequently return home to grumpy neighbors complaining about your dog’s hooting and hollering, your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety. However, you must consider your dog’s baseline behavior before assuming your dog is anxious – some dogs are simply vocal.
- Going to the Bathroom Indoors – Accidents happen, even among the best-trained and most relaxed dogs, but if your otherwise-housebroken dog is constantly peeing or pooping indoors on the carpet whenever you leave, she is probably bothered by your absence.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, she may be suffering from separation anxiety. This means that, in addition to consulting with a canine behaviorist, you should consider purchasing a crate to keep her safe and secure whenever you must leave.
What Causes Dog Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a well-defined condition, but it can be caused by a wide range of factors.
Some of the most common causes of the problem (as well as things associated with separation anxiety) are as follows:
- People-pleasing breeds that form close bonds with their owners are more likely to suffer from separation anxiety.
- Other breeds, on the other hand, barely notice when you leave the house and remain calm whether you are home or not. Lists of both types of breeds are provided below.
- Separation anxiety is frequently caused by traumatic experiences in dogs. Unsurprisingly, shelter and rescue dogs are among the most likely to become afraid when their family members leave.
- Major life changes, such as moving or family changes, can frequently trigger anxiety symptoms. The more drastic the change, the more likely it is that your dog will suffer for an extended period of time.
7 Ways to Help Your Dog Cope With Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety, like some other behavioral issues, can be difficult to treat. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and you may need to try several different approaches before you find one that works for you.
BestForPets (bestforpets.org) have a complete Separation Anxiety Guide & Training Plan available for you to read through.
However, some of the most commonly used solutions are as follows:
1. Increase Your Dog’s Exercise
Almost every behavioral issue imaginable can be at least partially alleviated by increasing your dog’s exercise.
Not only do dogs benefit from the endorphins and general fun of tennis-ball play, but it also exhausts them, making them more likely to sleep while you are away.
However, because separation anxiety is a panic disorder, exercise will only help so much and will almost certainly not solve the problem on its own.
2. Don’t make a big deal about your arrival and departure
Before we leave, we humans have a habit of comforting our dogs. Human children can be reassured by words promising your return, but these good intentions can harm your dog.
When you come or go, the attention you give your dog rewards his nervous behavior, feeding into his stress cycle.
When puppies cry for our attention, we instinctively rush over to comfort them. Dogs, on the other hand, must learn to be alone in order to develop into confident, secure animals.
Don’t say anything to your dog when you leave the house. When you return, keep the same routine. “I’m finally home, did you miss me?” don’t say. Instead, walk past your dog and, if she’s waiting politely, return to let her out.
Wait until she is calm if she is banging around in the crate and generally acting out. Don’t encourage her insane behavior.
3. Train Your Dog to Recognize Exit Signs
Dogs are very aware of your physical movements and behavioral signals that indicate you’re about to leave. You may be unaware of your departure routine, but your dog certainly is!
Instead of grabbing your jacket and jangling your keys as you walk out the door, change up your routine to avoid causing your dog to panic.
Pick up your jacket and purse on occasion for no reason, and place departure items in various locations around the house.
Exit the house through various doors, and remember not to say anything to your dog as you leave â€” just go. As a puppy, you should begin practicing alone time by making your disappearances a game.
â€‹Experiment with leaving your dog’s sight by having your pup sit and wait for you to leave the room for 30 seconds.
Then, gradually increase your absence to one minute, two minutes, and so on. Begin small and gradually progress your pup to longer periods of absence.
4. Gradually increase the amount of time spent alone
We go into much more detail in our comprehensive Dog Separation Anxiety Guide, but the tried-and-true method for resolving separation anxiety is to gradually acclimate your dog to being alone in stages.
You’ll begin by simply leaving your dog alone for a minute or two while you go get the mail. Install a dog camera or other monitoring device to ensure that your dog does not become distressed during this time. If your dog can’t handle you stepping away for a few minutes, start with just 30 seconds outside.
Repeat this process a few times per day, starting with just a minute or two of absence. You can gradually progress to 10- and 20-minute trips away while always monitoring your dog’s stress levels via recordings or remote cameras.
Take a step back and return to leaving your dog for shorter periods of time whenever she crosses her threshold and panics with crying or destruction. You’ll gradually increase the amount of time your dog can be left alone until you can finally be gone for hours at a time without your dog losing it.
The difficult part is that while you work on this process, your dog cannot be left alone for any period of time that exceeds her threshold, or much of your progress will be lost.
Consider enlisting the assistance of family, friends, or pet sitters to ensure that your dog is never left alone for an extended period of time while you work on increasing her tolerance.
Your veterinarian may also be able to prescribe dog anxiety medication, which, while not removing your dog’s anxiety, can usually result in much faster progress and building your dog’s alone-time tolerance faster than without the use of drugs.
5. Make The Crate a Fun Place to Visit
As your dog learns to be alone, you should teach her to accept and even enjoy her crate time (if you crate her when you leave the house). Begin crate training as soon as possible to teach your dog to be alone and to find comfort in her crate.
You can make your dog’s crate a fun and positive environment by:
- In the crate, she is being fed.
- During crate time, give her her favorite toys or treats.
- I’m having fun playing crate games with her (see below)
- Making the crate into a fun game is a great way to desensitize your pet to the crate.
- Begin by putting treats in the crate and leaving the door open, with your dog entering and exiting for treats while the door remains open.
- Play the game a few times throughout the day.
- Close the door with your dog inside and gradually increase the time increments (start with five seconds, then 15, then 30, and so on). Continue to give your dog treats while she is in the crate to keep the experience positive.
Games like these can go a long way toward helping your dog have a positive crate experience.
6. Keep Your Dog Busy
Purchase a particularly interesting game or dog puzzle toy to keep your pup occupied during alone time. This will only work if your dog genuinely enjoys the toy in question, but assuming she does, it will help distract her while you are away.
Cool toys may not completely alleviate her separation anxiety, but they can certainly help. Just don’t be surprised if your dog refuses to play with her treat-shooting toy while you’re gone – it’s not uncommon for dogs suffering from severe separation anxiety to completely ignore food.
Many owners will also give their dog a frozen Kong treat while they are away. Kongs can be stuffed with tasty substances and then frozen to create a tasty, irresistible item for your dog to focus her energy on.
7. Provide Comfort Items for Your Dog
When you leave, leave familiar and favorite items for your dog. Although it may seem silly, you may be able to alleviate your pet’s anxiety by leaving a worn T-shirt or pair of socks with her when you must be away for an extended period of time. The scent of her person may make her feel less lonely.
We are quite glad that you have read this far into the essay. BestForPets (bestforpets.org) prepared this article in the hopes that it would help you choose the best dog crates for anxious dogs for your companion animal.
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