Managing Beagle Separation Anxiety: Essential Tips and Tricks

Prior to training, Baylee the beagle would suffer separation anxiety if we left the house

Beagles are known for their strong attachment to people and other animals. They can be very friendly, loving, and loyal pets.

Beagle separation anxiety is a condition in which a beagle experiences distress when separated from its guardians. Symptoms may include barking, howling, whining, pacing, destruction of property, and/or attempts to escape. Beagles with separation anxiety may also have physical symptoms such as panting, shaking, or excessive licking.

It’s important that if your beagle has separation anxiety, it gets treated before the condition worsens, leading to destructive behaviors like chewing on furniture or urinating in the house while you’re away from the house.

Read to learn more about recognizing, avoiding, and treating separation anxiety in beagles.

What is Beagle Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is rare but very distressing for dog and beagle owners alike. A beagle might develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods.

To understand why your beagle might have separation anxiety, we first must understand the breed.

Beagles are pack animals and a high-energy breed.

They were bred to hunt wild game and would live and hunt in packs. It’s their nature to be around people and other dogs at home or on a hunt.

A beagle can be conditioned to be alive, but it’s not their instinct.

This means that if a beagle isn’t given the right environment and socialization, it can become anxious when left alone.

This is essentially separation anxiety. It can manifest itself in varying levels of severity, from mild to severe.

How Do I Know if My Beagle Has Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety can manifest itself in many ways in beagles and other dogs. However, the very nature of separation anxiety means they show most symptoms when you are not around.

Since you obviously will not be with your beagle while he is experiencing separation anxiety, you may hear about some of the issues from close neighbors or hear what’s going on as you come up to the door.

An anxious beagle may bark excessively
An anxious beagle may bark excessively.

Symptoms of beagle separation anxiety can vary greatly depending on the severity of your dog’s condition.

The three most common signs of beagle separation anxiety are destructive behaviors, excessive barking or whining, or the dog’s refusal to go outside.

Some dogs may urinate or defecate in the house when their owner is away, either because they do not know how to hold it for a long period or because they have separation anxiety.

Other symptoms to pay attention to that may indicate separation anxiety is excessive vocalization, eating disorders/destructive chewing, and pacing or restlessness.

In severe cases, beagles may try to escape from their home or yard by digging under fences, chewing through doors or window screens, or jumping over fences.

This can obviously lead to serious injury if not managed correctly. If your beagle is exhibiting any of these behaviors, you should consult a vet or animal behaviorist to see if separation anxiety might be the underlying issue.

Behaviors that could be separation anxiety include;

  • destructive behavior
  • escape attempts
  • excessive barking
  • depressed before you depart the house
  • pacing, panting, drooling, shaking
  • urinating or defecating in the house

Not all of these need to be present for a diagnosis of separation anxiety. However, if your beagle exhibits any of these behaviors, then it’s likely to be separation anxiety and any of these behaviors need to be addressed to reduce your dog’s suffering.

A beagle chewing a boot could be a sign of separation anxiety
A beagle chewing a boot could be a sign of separation anxiety

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Beagles?

Beagles may feel anxious when left alone because they are social dogs who love being around people and other pets. They have lots of energy; if they have been kept in a crate too much or not trained well, separation anxiety can worsen.

Separation anxiety can also be caused by any type of prolonged isolation that the dog has experienced, including boarding, traveling long distances, or if their owner has been working all day.

Top Causes of Separation Anxiety in Beagles

As beagle owners, we are responsible for providing the best environment for our furry friends to eliminate a dog’s anxiety and stop unwanted behavior.

Below are some top causes that might lead to separation anxiety in beagles.

  1. Crate abuse – if a beagle has been locked in a crate for too long, it can become anxious when left alone.
  2. Not using a crate – a crate can be a safe sanctuary, a place where a beagle can feel safe and secure and help a beagle cope with you being away. If a beagle hasn’t been crate trained, it may not have this safe space to retreat when feeling anxious.
  3. Lack of training – If a beagle has incomplete house training, it may struggle to understand that it is normal and safe for them to be left alone or that its human will always return to them.
  4. Not enough exercise and mental stimulation – A tired beagle is less likely to show anxious behavior. If a beagle doesn’t have enough exercise, it might become bored and start destroying things. Beagles need to exercise every day. They also need to do things to stimulate their minds, like playing games, being trained, and smelling different things.
  5. Given up for adoption – Beagles surrendered to shelters or rescues are more likely to develop separation anxiety. This is because they may have experienced traumatic events in their past, such as being abandoned by their previous family.
  6. Punishment – Beagles who have been punished when left alone are more likely to develop separation anxiety. This is because they associate being left alone with something negative, such as being scolded or put in a crate.
  7. Accustomed to a busy environment – Beagles who are used to being around people all the time may become anxious when left alone. This is because they are not used to spending time alone and may feel bored or restless without the company of others.
  8. Change in routine – A dog’s life thrives on routine. A change in the household, such as a baby being born, another dog moving in, or a family member moving out, can lead to separation anxiety. Beagles may become anxious because they are not used to the new routine and don’t know what to expect.
  9. Unfamiliar environment – If a beagle is staying in a new place, such as a kennel or boarding facility, it may become anxious because it is unfamiliar with its surroundings. This can be compounded if the beagle is not used to being away from its family.
  10. Losing a family member – Never underestimate the bond between a beagle and its family. If a beagle loses a human or canine pack member, it may become anxious because it is grieving the loss. This can also happen if a beagle’s owner is gone for an extended period, such as being deployed overseas.

How Do You Treat Separation Anxiety in Beagles?

You can do a few things when trying to conquer your beagle’s separation anxiety.

If your beagle shows signs of experiencing anxious behavior, try the following tips to help alleviate your dog’s suffering.

This great video of stressed dog care is courtesy of Battersea in the UK.

Seven Tips for Helping Separation Anxiety

1. Adopt a strict routine for you and your Beagle

All dogs like routine and a schedule in your day will help to keep them calm as there are fewer unexpected happenings.

For example, leaving the house each morning for work and returning home at similar times will help them understand you coming home.

Routine can help change behavior in many ways.

For example, I noticed that my beagle got anxious when she first heard the jangling sound of my car keys.

So, to distract her from that sign, I started jangling my keys at home while I was with her, and after they’d make a noise, I’d give her a treat as a reward.

Over time, she began to associate positive feelings with me picking up my keys and didn’t always get so nervous when I did have to use them to leave her for longer periods.

So long as I gave her a treat when I left the house, she was happy!

2. Try playing calming music while you are out.

If you have a smart speaker, it’s easy to create a playlist of calming music to play while you are away.

There are also many dog-specific channels on Spotify and other music streaming platforms that you can use to soothe your beagle’s anxiety.

Get your dog used to the music by playing it 20 minutes before you leave and leave it on for the duration they are alone.

3. Crate training

Crate training is a great way to help most dogs feel safe and secure in their own space and help reduce anxious behaviors.

Dogs are pack animals, so they need a place to retreat when they’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

Associate crate training with positive feelings by rewarding your beagle when in the crate; give them a treat each time they go in the crate.

You’ll be able to leave the house without worrying about accidents or destruction while you’re gone! Plus, it will make traveling with your pup by car easier because he’ll have his own space in the car.

Read our post Should Beagles Be Crate Trained?

4. Mental stimulation

Keep your beagle occupied whilst on its own by keeping plenty of its favorite toys around for it to play with.

For younger dogs, try hiding some of their favorite treats so that they can sniff them out. A food-stuffed toy keeps your dog entertained for hours and will reduce anxiety.

5. Physical stimulation

Beagles have high energy and stamina levels and, as such, need regular exercise to help burn off that energy.

A tired dog is generally calm, so aim to exercise your beagle for at least an hour each day.

This can be in the form of a long walk or run, playing fetch in the park, or anything else that gets their heart rate up and tires them out.

If you limit your walks to just the weekend with your Beagle or occasionally during the week, your dog will be restless and will get bored, which could lead to anxiety.

6. Ask family or friends for help

If you are away from home during the day, try asking a friend or family member to come over and check on your beagle, even if it is just for a quick walk around the block.

This will help break up their time alone and give them human interaction.

7. Hire a dog walker/sitter

A dog sitter could be a great option for those working long hours or days when they can’t make it home early and cannot ask anyone to help.

A dog walker will take your beagle for a short walk, give them food, or let them to the toilet while you are at work.

Bracken and Baylee in crate for first time
My beagles enjoy being in their crate even when I’m home

Severe Separation Anxiety

Any dog that is suffering from severe separation anxiety is experiencing trauma, which can take some time to overcome.

Particularly if you have adopted your beagle, it’ll be more challenging to identify their triggers and understand what type of environment they were raised in previously.

Try your best to give them the attention and reassurance that’s needed. If their anxiety proves too much, you might want to consult an animal behaviorist for help and advice.

How to Stop a Beagle From Howling When You Leave

Beagles are notorious for their howling, though not all do. However, if you do have a beagle that howls, below are a few steps to try and stop it.

How to Calm a Beagle

  1. Don’t make a big deal out of coming and going – If you act like it’s no big deal when you leave or come home, your beagle will eventually learn that it’s not a big deal, either.
  2. Leave them with something to do – As we mentioned before, mental stimulation is key to keeping your beagle calm when you’re away. Leave them with a Kong toy filled with their favorite treats or a puzzle toy to keep them occupied.
  3. Don’t give in – If your beagle starts howling as soon as you leave, don’t give in and come back inside. This will only reinforce the behavior.
  4. Crate train – If your beagle is crate trained, they’ll know their crate is a safe and secure place to stay when you’re not around. This can help lessen their anxiety and stop them from howling.
  5. Exercise – A tired dog is a calm dog, so make sure to give your beagle plenty of exercise before you leave. A long walk or run will help burn off their energy and relax them.

Following these tips should help stop your beagle from howling when you’re not around. If their howling persists, it might be a sign of separation anxiety, and you should consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for help.

The beagle his a distinctive howl
A beagle howling in the wild is fine but is much less desirable at home

Do Beagles Drool

Beagles are not notorious but will drool when excited or nervous.

If your beagle is drooling excessively, it could be a sign of something more serious, such as heatstroke, so it’s always best to check with your veterinarian.

Excessive drooling can also be a sign of an anxiety disorder in dogs. If your beagle is constantly drooling, it’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

Let’s Wrap Up This Challenging Subject

It can be difficult to deal with beagle separation anxiety if you’re not sure what’s causing it, but there are ways to reduce the anxiety by behavior modification, anti-anxiety medication (last resort)

The good news is that you can help your dog become less anxious when they are home alone with the right environment and training.

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