If your dog acts up when you’re gone or tries to stop you from leaving, he could be suffering from separation anxiety.

This condition occurs when dogs feel distressed during their owner’s absence. Your dog might urinate or defecate in the house when you’re away, even if he’s house-trained.

Other signs of separation anxiety include attempting to escape, chewing on inappropriate objects, barking excessively and pacing.

Dogs can develop this condition after major or minor changes, such as being adopted, being left alone for longer periods of time, losing a family member or moving to a new house or apartment.

Separation anxiety can range from very mild to severe.

If your dog has a mild or moderate case of anxiety, try playing soothing music to help keep him calm while you’re gone. Pupsnap Music at pupsnap.com offers a CD full of relaxing tunes designed to ease the separation anxiety dogs experience. The album ‘Chill Dog’ features the gentle sounds of harp music with a bit of electronic enhancement mixed in. Professional musician Marcia Dickstein and Grammy-winning producer Frederick Vogler present an impressive selection of songs that will help your dog feel less anxious when he’s left alone.

You can also help your dog relax by making sure he gets plenty of exercise before you leave. Ideally, he should get a 30-minute workout, which can include activities like running or vigorous play. This will help tire him out when he’s alone. Giving him a favorite treat just before you go or a puzzle toy that will keep him occupied for a bit might also help distract him. Getting a treat or toy also helps him view being left alone as a positive thing.

If your dog has a severe case of separation anxiety, it’s best to seek professional help. Certified dog trainers and applied animal behaviorists are qualified to help treat separation anxiety dogs experience. Your vet might also recommend medication to help him relax.