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Do Beagles Have Separation Anxiety? Is it Common?

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

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Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

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The adorable Beagle almost needs no introduction. These small dogs have been around for centuries and have been used as scenthounds for nearly as long. Beagles make incredible family pets, so if you’ve been thinking about adding one to your family, you might be wondering if there are any issues with separation anxiety.

Unfortunately, this is indeed a known issue with Beagles, as they form strong bonds with their people and other animals.

Here, we get into why Beagles are so prone to separation anxiety and how you can help them get through it.

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What Is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is when a dog becomes anxious when left alone. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety can react in several ways, including distress and destructive behaviors.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

Dogs most commonly show separation anxiety behaviors within the first hour after being left alone. But they can become quite anxious as well at the time you are leaving,  if they recognize the situation.

Signs of a dog experiencing separation anxiety include:

  • Constant whining
  • Continuous barking
  • Excessive panting
  • Shaking
  • Following the owner around
  • Urinating and defecating in the house
senior beagle dog lying on the carpet
Image Credit: masch, Pixabay

Beagles are quite vocal dogs, and once they figure out that you’re leaving, they’ll likely start whining, which can turn into barking, even before you’ve left the house. When stressed, the Beagle’s bark is often higher-pitched and louder than their usual bark.

After you’ve left, your Beagle may bark for hours, which might not go over too well with your neighbors. Barking is probably the most common sign of separation anxiety, and dogs can bark until the point of exhaustion.

Anxious dogs are alsomore  likely to engage in the following behaviors:

  • Pacing — Obsessive pacing can go on for hours.
  • Destructive behavior — This is usually chewing behavior that can be of anything that they can get their mouths on, including their own paws.
  • Drooling — This drooling is excessive and beyond how much your dog usually drools.
  • Attempts to escape — If outside, the dog will frantically try to dig under fencing or jump over it. Inside, the Beagle might claw at the doors, windows, and flooring.
  • Coprophagia — Some dogs eat their own feces, and some vets believe that this is due to anxiety.

Why Are Beagles Prone to Separation Anxiety?

The way that Beagles were bred helps explain why they have a harder time dealing with being alone than many other breeds. For one thing, Beagles were bred to be a part of a pack of dogs for hunting game.

They are accustomed to always having company — other dogs or people to play and spend time with. Most modern-day Beagles are popular family pets and make their family a part of their pack.

Additionally, Beagles are intelligent and energetic, so separation anxiety can set in through sheer boredom when they’re left alone for too long.

a sick beagle dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: Elena Loza, Shutterstock

How Long Can Beagles Be Left Alone For?

This depends on the individual Beagle, as no two are alike, but as a general rule, adult Beagles over 18 months of age should only be left alone for up to 6 hours. Beagle puppies shouldn’t be left alone for any longer than 2 hours.

If you’re unsure of how your Beagle is doing while you’re out, consider setting up a camera to record your dog while you’re away. This can give you a better idea of how your dog handles being left alone and whether the anxiety sets in immediately or only after a while.

Ways to Help Your Beagle With Separation Anxiety

There are several methods that you can use to help your Beagle feel better when you’re away.

1. Leaving Home

How you handle your goodbyes with your Beagle can make a big difference in their behavior.

When you take your dog outside to go to the bathroom, give them time to run around and expend a bit of energy. Try not to do this at the last minute so your dog only ends up with a 5-minute outside run. Be sure to give them plenty of love, pets, and attention at this time.

As you’re leaving, don’t say anything to your Beagle. The more often you say something like, “goodbye,” the more likely it will become a trigger word for your dog.

Just be as casual as possible, and as difficult as this may be, don’t give your Beagle excessive attention before you head out the door. The more you make a big deal out of leaving, the more your Beagle will think that it is indeed a big deal.

If the sound of your car keys makes your dog immediately anxious, try to create a positive association with your keys by jangling them when you’re at home and following that sound with a treat.

Beagle standing on the field
Image Credit: José Somovilla, Pixabay

2. Setting Up a Space

You’ll need to have a space set up for your Beagle. You may not want to give your Beagle the run of the whole house, but their designated area shouldn’t be too small either.

Your best bet is to gate off a section of your home, like the living room or kitchen, which is particularly important if you’ll be gone most of the day. Their crate might be fine for a short time away.

In your Beagle’s area, put a water bowl or dispenser, and consider getting a slow feeder, which can do a great job of keeping your dog busy. There are also KONG toys, which can be filled with treats, peanut butter, or whatever your Beagle loves.

Ensure that your Beagle has a comfortable spot to sleep. If your closed-in space happens to have your dog’s favorite chair in it, you’re golden! Otherwise, invest in a dog bed so your Beagle isn’t sleeping on the floor the entire time.

Finally, place your Beagle’s favorite toys in this space, and consider puzzle toys or anything else that your Beagle will need to use their brain for. This is a great way to keep them occupied.


3. Having Background Noise

Consider turning on the radio or television for background noise, though don’t turn it up too loud. If a noisy program suddenly comes on, it could end up stressing out your dog more.

You can also put on relaxing music in the background. Just be sure to put the music on at least 20 minutes before you leave and leave it on for another 20 minutes after you get home. This way, your dog won’t start to associate these sounds with the negativity of your leaving.

If you know that you’ll be coming home in the dark, you should leave a few lights on for your Beagle. This can help your dog feel less lonely.

Pocket Beagle
Image By: bunthaweekan anpunya, Shutterstock

4. Taking a Midday Walk

If you can visit your dog for lunch, this can help break up the day for them. Or, if you have family or friends who can take your dog out for a walk, this can provide necessary company for your Beagle. You could also simply hire a dog walker. This can go a long way toward reducing your dog’s stress rather than it building up as the day goes on.

There are also doggy daycares that you can consider. If money is an issue, even just one or two days a week can break up the alone time that your Beagle is experiencing.


5. Getting Another Companion

If you have more room in your heart, home, and wallet, think about getting a companion for your Beagle. Another dog, maybe even another Beagle, can help give your dog some company.

Severe Separation Anxiety

This is where you should speak to your vet. An animal behaviorist can also help you. In some cases, anti-anxiety medication can come in handy. Dogs that experience severe separation anxiety may need extra help through behavior modification, which is a slow and gradual process.

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Conclusion

Separation anxiety is stressful for your Beagle, as well as for you. A combination of these ideas should hopefully help. Also, speak to your vet, as they might have more tips for you.

As long as you remember that this is not a process that will happen overnight and will require a great deal of patience from you, your Beagle should become more secure over time.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: mrnok, Shutterstock

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