Do you have a beagle that gets overly anxious when you leave? Or perhaps they can’t stop following you around from room to room, unable to relax or settle peacefully on their own?
If you’re concerned about the level of distress your hound is going through when they’re alone at home, and would like to know what you can do to help – then we have you completely covered, with these 35 Signs, Causes, and Treatments for Beagle Separation Anxiety.
Beagles are extremely social dogs and pack animals, so it’s not surprising that separation anxiety can be a common problem for them and their owners.
This type of anxiety can be triggered by many things including a change in routine, previous crate abuse, lack of appropriate training, environmental factors, and other events that can cause them to feel insecure.
One of the most common reasons why beagles are given up for adoption is because their owners cannot cope with the level of disruptive or destructive behaviors when left alone at home, often induced by anxiety.
They might urinate, defecate, bark, whine, howl, chew furniture, or try to escape on a frequent basis, leading to high levels of stress for both the beagle and its owner.
What is Beagle Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a fairly common condition in beagles where they experience and display signs of distress when separated momentarily, or for long periods of time from their preferred human caregiver or companion.
The stress of the separation becomes so overwhelming for them that they begin to experience both physical and psychological effects, which can be very distressing for you, as well as your hound.
Beagles can experience mild to severe forms of separation anxiety, depending on a variety of factors.
It’s important to identify and recognize the signs as early as possible in order to prevent the condition from escalating into severe separation anxiety.
What are the Signs of Beagle Separation Anxiety?
Although beagles are very intelligent and trainable, they can develop a number of negative behaviors when left alone for short or extended periods of time.
The stress experienced from the separation can lead to destructive behaviors, and although it may seem like your beagle needs to be taught a few polite house manners, these can also be clear signs and symptoms of distress.
Understanding and identifying the signs of separation anxiety in your beagle is the first step to preventing the condition from escalating and being able to provide effective treatment.
10 Common Signs and Symptoms of Beagle Separation Anxiety
The following list could indicate separation anxiety in your beagle:
1. Barking, Whining, or Howling
Beagles are ordinarily a very vocal dog breed, but a sure-fire sign that they have some separation anxiety is if they are constantly barking, whining, or howling for the duration of the time that they are left alone.
2. Urinating and Defecating within 30 Minutes
High levels of stress can have a similar impact on beagles as they do in humans, causing immediate and unwanted urination or defecation.
When their instinctive Fight or Flight defenses kick in, adrenaline can cause a loss of control on their bladder and bowels, leading to pees and poops in the home, even when they are fully house trained.
3. Eating Their Own Poop
If your beagle has defecated and eaten its own poop whilst you are out, this could be a sign of separation anxiety.
Although separation anxiety is not the main cause of why beagles eat poop, it could be likely if this only happens when they are left alone at home.
4. Chewing and Destruction
If your beagle has been sufficiently exercised and exhausted, yet begins chewing on furniture or other household items soon after being left at home alone, this could be a symptom of separation anxiety.
Destruction can be used by beagles as a means of coping with the frustration or anxiety of being left alone.
For general tips on how to limit ‘normal’ destructive behavior, read 13 Ways to Beagle-Proof Your Home
5. Scratching at Doors and Windows
If you’ve ever come home to a scratched or damaged door or window, it’s likely that your beagle was frantically trying to escape.
Unless they desperately needed to go potty outside (or other triggers such as squirrels), scratches at doors and windows are likely to be a sign of separation anxiety.
6. Excessive Drooling, Panting, or Pacing
When your beagle is excessively drooling or panting, these could be signs of separation anxiety in response to a raised body temperature and increased heart rate due to increasing levels of stress.
Some will pace back and forth in a straight line whilst others in circular patterns, becoming extremely agitated and unable to rest when left alone.
7. Loss of Appetite
Beagles are one of the very few dog breeds that almost never lose their appetite as they are completely food-driven.
It is the one thing that always brings them joy, so if they no longer enjoy eating and there is no other medical concern, they could be suffering from severe anxiety or depression.
8. Extremely Needy Behavior
If your beagle cannot leave your side and follows you absolutely everywhere, this may be a sign of separation anxiety.
Pawing at you and constantly asking for cuddles, could mean that they only feel comfortable sleeping with you – safe in the knowledge that you can’t leave without waking them.
If your beagle is unable to easily rest on its own whilst you are at home, they could be overly dependent on you.
9. Anxious Prior to Departure
When a beagle understands that its owner is preparing to leave the house, it may start to become agitated and anxious immediately prior to departure.
Signs of these could be whining or howling, panting, pacing, sitting by the door, limp tail wag, or any other unusual behavior.
10. Depressed Prior to Departure
Some beagles who experience separation anxiety may also be dealing with severe forms of depression when accustomed to regularly being left for very long periods of time.
They lack any energy to ‘play-up’ and have very little-to-no reaction when being left alone at home.
10 Causes of Separation Anxiety in Beagles
Beagles can develop separation anxiety for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they are highly sociable dogs, love to be around people and other pets, have high energy levels, crate use has been abused, or insufficient training received, and they are commonly misunderstood.
They are pack animals and incredibly social by nature, developing a strong attachment to people, other dogs, or pets, and thrive the most when they have company.
Although there are several reasons why your beagle may be experiencing separation anxiety, here is a list of some common causes:
1. Crate Abuse
Beagles are one of the most commonly crated breeds of dog, and are subsequently more likely to have experienced previous crate abuse.
Due to their high energy levels and often mischievous nature, beagle owners resort to using the crate to control destructive behaviors, crating for very long periods without sufficient training, breaks, or exercise.
Without using effective crate training techniques, beagles can become highly distressed when left in isolation, constantly worrying about whether their owners will return to them.
2. Not Using a Crate
Beagles that are given a large area or house to roam freely can experience separation anxiety due to increased feelings of isolation.
Having too much space to themselves can be overwhelming and reinforce the fact they are completely alone without the presence of anyone else.
Crating also eliminates the possibility of destruction to household goods and items, preventing you from airing any possible frustrations as a result of the damage, and subsequently helping to build a better relationship with your beagle.
3. Lack of Appropriate Training
If a beagle has always had the company of others without any separation training, this could inevitably lead to them developing isolation anxiety.
Without the right training in place, beagles may struggle to understand that it is normal and safe for them to be left alone, or that their human will always return to them.
4. Lack of Exercise
Beagles are a high-energy breed and need a fair amount of physical and mental stimulation before they are exhausted.
If they have a lack of exercise before being left alone, they can resort to destructive behaviors as a coping mechanism to deal with the stress.
5. Given up for Adoption
Beagles are one of the most common dog breeds to be given up for adoption, and a change in the household can have a negative impact on them.
The fear of being abandoned or surrendered to a dog shelter can trigger the development of separation anxiety.
6. Previous Punishment
If a beagle has been previously punished upon its owner’s return home (for any accidents or destruction), then it could develop severe anxiety associated with this negative or traumatic experience.
7. Accustomed to a Busy Environment
If your beagle has been adopted from a shelter or a large household, it could develop separation anxiety when removed from that busy environment and left alone in isolation.
8. Change in Schedule
Beagles are incredibly routined animals, and an abrupt change in schedule can cause the onset of separation anxiety.
For example, if they have been used to being left for 2 hours a day, they will soon understand that 4 hours is a much longer timeframe, and can begin to panic through fear that they have been abandoned.
9. Unfamiliar Environment
Beagles become accustomed to routine and their home, understanding the boundaries and behaviors of the household.
Moving to a new home or temporarily being looked after by another household can unsettle a beagle if there are no familiarities or continuation of training/routine.
10. Loss of a Member of their Pack
As beagles are pack animals, they become very attached to humans and other dogs or pets.
The loss of a member of their pack can be highly distressing for them, leading to depression, or in some cases severe separation anxiety.
15 Treatments for Beagle Separation Anxiety
The good news is, whether you’ve adopted an adult beagle or had them from puppy age, there is plenty you can do to help them overcome their feelings of distress.
Here are some of the most effective treatments and techniques for dealing with beagle separation anxiety:
1. Separation Training
Training your beagle to become independent is one of the best things you can do to help with separation anxiety.
All of the neediness and constant cuddles may be very cute and comforting, but in order to help reduce their feelings of anxiety, they must get used to having ‘alone time’ whilst at home with you.
If your beagle is like your shadow – continuously following your around the home or watching your every move, train them to sit or stay in one place whilst you leave the room and return.
Keep on with this training until they are entirely comfortable remaining where there are whilst you go about your business in the home.
2. Mock Departures
Mock departures are a great way to get your beagle adjusted to being left alone in a controlled environment.
It involves mentally preparing them whilst you pretend to leave the house, with routines such as putting your shoes and coat on, grabbing your keys and your handbag or wallet – all the things you would normally do before leaving.
In time, this will desensitize your beagle to those overwhelming feelings of anxiety associated with you leaving, such as the sounds of your keys jingling away.
Once they no longer react to these events, leave them at home – starting with 1 minute and then gradually increasing the times until your beagle becomes more comfortable with the routine.
By doing mock departures regularly for very short periods of time, you can teach your beagle that even though you have left, you’ll always return and you won’t be gone for long.
This will help to alleviate negative associations with being left alone, and in time, will allow your pup to relax and entertain themselves whilst you are not there.
3. Effective Crate Training
Crate training using suitable techniques could be the single most effective way to help combat separation anxiety in beagles.
Beagles often struggle with isolation anxiety when they have not been appropriately crate trained, and giving them a large house to roam around in by themselves can lead to increased feelings of isolation
When effective crate training is delivered, it can provide a sense of security and familiar surroundings, helping them to feel safe and comfortable in their little home, and is one of our top tips for every beagle owner.
Read our comprehensive Beagle Crate Training Guide for incredibly helpful information and tips.
4. Don’t Be Too Playful on Departure or Arrival
A rare-known trick that really helps with separation anxiety, is to not be too animated or playful when leaving or coming home to your beagle.
Being overly excited can make your beagle feel like it’s fun time, and if you can’t deliver on their expectations, they are likely to feel disappointed.
It can make it seem like they are missing out if their happy human has left them to go have fun elsewhere.
Equally, being too playful immediately upon your return can reinforce the fact that you were happy when you left and continued to have fun without them.
Give it a moment, let them out for potty, reward them with a treat, and then say hello properly!
5. Get a Dog Walker or Sitter
Dog walkers and sitters play a key part in any dog’s life when they are left alone for extended periods of time.
If you know that you’ll be leaving them for several hours, get a dog walker to take them out and exhaust them!
An exhausted beagle is more likely to be content on its own at home than a beagle that has tons of energy to expel!
6. Increase Mental Stimulation
You don’t just need to rely on physical exercise to exhaust your pup.
There are plenty of ways to provide your beagle with mental stimulation that will have them equally as tired as a long walk, like treating them to a Long-Lasting Beagle Chew.
Read our post on 13 Fun Ways To Keep Your Beagle Entertained for some great ideas.
7. Comforting Background Noise
When leaving a beagle at home alone, it’s best to have some background noise, such as the radio or TV to help calm nerves and reduce stimulation from external sources.
If they can hear absolutely every movement going on outside, it can be unsettling for them. Background noise will help drown this out.
This Portable Dog Radio has been scientifically proven at helping soothe nervous dogs by playing a specific selection of dog calming music.
8. Leave them with a Distraction
Early on in your separation training, it’s good to consider leaving your beagle whilst they are distracted with something enjoyable to do.
An indestructible treat dispenser or treat-filled Extreme Kong can be a great way of reducing separation anxiety as they are no longer focused on you leaving, and now have a positive association with being left alone.
Both of these products make it onto our list of the Ultimate Training Tools for Dogs
9. Install a Dog Camera
Dog cameras can be both a negative and positive experience for owners, depending on which part of the training you’re at!
Initially, it can be fairly distressing watching your beagle howling or pining for you shortly after you’ve left. But it won’t be long before you start to see a major improvement in their behavior, providing you with much-needed reassurance that separation training is working!
Dog cameras are a great way of identifying how long your beagle can cope on its own before showing any signs of separation anxiety, and will eventually provide you with some comfort that they can cope well on their own.
10. No Scolding or Punishment
It may seem like scolding or punishing a beagle to correct any unwanted behavior will have the desired impact, but in most cases, this tends to make matters much worse, if not the primary cause of their anxiety.
Your beagle is trying to cope with high levels of distress, and if they are punished for any accidents or destructive behavior, they will further associate being left alone with this punishment, becoming a vicious cycle for everyone involved.
Being able to distinguish anxious behaviors from general disobedience and understanding more about what is causing their anxiety, is the first step to providing effective treatment.
11. Try Not To Leave Alone (Whilst Rehabilitating)
If your beagle is suffering from severe separation anxiety, then try your best to ensure they are not left alone completely (whilst they are rehabilitating).
They do need to learn that being on their own is not so bad, but this takes time and a lot of patience.
Training a beagle to be independent is extremely difficult if they are still experiencing high levels of distress, so rehabilitation needs to be planned carefully for a successful outcome.
12. Anti-Anxiety Medication
The use of anti-anxiety medications can be helpful, particularly for severe cases of separation anxiety.
Some beagles are so distraught by any separation that treatment cannot be effectively implemented without the help of medication.
Anti-Anxiety medication can help your beagle tolerate some level of isolation, and can assist with separation training.
Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pup any type of medication for a behavioral issue.
13. Another Beagle!
It may seem like getting another beagle is the last thing on your mind right now, but they cope far better with other like-minded hounds by their side!
You’ll often find many owners have a pair of beagles at any time, as they provide the best company for each other. As they are incredibly social pack animals, it’s a great way of helping them to feel less isolated when left alone.
Coupled with some great separation training, owning two beagles at the same time can do wonders at giving them a happy, healthy environment where they can be left alone together.
However, there are plenty of other dogs that get along great with beagles!
14. Consult a Vet
If you’re unable to help your beagle with their anxiety, then it may be time to consult a vet or professional trainer.
There are many beagles that have severe cases of separation anxiety, and in these instances, it can be difficult to help them without proper training or assistance.
It is important you do not give up if they continue to show signs of distress when left alone, even though it can feel like an impossible issue to solve.
15. Time and Patience
Whilst training your beagle to be content when left alone, it’s extremely important to have plenty of time and patience for them.
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 to help them understand that they are safe at home, with or without you.
Wrapping Up Beagle Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety in beagles isn’t rare, but the good news is there are numerous strategies to help ease your furry friend’s discomfort.
Using methods from mock departures to specialized separation training, every step you take is vital in ensuring your beagle is at ease when home alone.
We trust this information on the signs, symptoms, and treatments for beagle separation anxiety was enlightening. If it was, consider subscribing to our newsletter for weekly beagle insights and to join a community of fellow beagle enthusiasts.