American Bulldogs are quite possibly one of the greatest companions you will ever have in your life. They are a well-socialized breed that enjoys very much being in the company of others. They can’t help but lavish up all the attention that is on offer to them and find being around others is not only fun but also a comforting experience.
This wonderful breed is specifically bred as companion dogs (historically bred for farming work) and spending too much time on their own can become stressful for them and cause anxiety. Unfortunately it is common for American Bulldogs to get separation anxiety. If you plan to bring this breed into your life you must be prepared to dedicate time and bring true friendship into the equation.
Do American Bulldogs Get Separation Anxiety?
Yes, unfortunately, American Bulldogs do suffer quite severely with separation anxiety. The level of anxiety experienced will ultimately vary between different dog personalities however for the most part this breed does struggle with the prospect of being on their own for long periods.
Bulldogs require a high level of attention and have an innate need for physical closeness. This can often cause problems within the household since it is impossible for us as humans to be with our canine friend at all times. Being a dog owner of any breed is a big responsibility however owning a bulldog can take ownership to a new level and bring additional obligations into the mix.
Luckily there are some key things you can do as an owner to try and help with this unfortunate situation which we will discuss in more detail later. Separation anxiety will usually occur from a young age therefore you must nip this in the bud as early as possible.
Can American Bulldogs Be Left At Home While I Work
Many breeds of dog will happily sit at home all day whilst you are at work without a care in the world however it is true to say American Bulldogs don’t usually fall into this category. In an ideal world, they would love for you to stay at home with them all day snuggled up on the sofa and going out for walks with them on demand.
This isn’t to say that working professionals that are out all day cannot own a bulldog, however out must ensure there are some steps in place to prevent your bulldog becoming lonely and suffering from separation anxiety. Dog training is key here! A bulldog that has gone through proper training will have learnt that being on their own is not the end of the world. They will have learnt to deal with time on their own and relax under these circumstances.
What Are the Signs of Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety may seem like an insignificant sign of neediness, but in reality, this is a serious mental health illness that needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
Luckily it is very easy to diagnose if your bulldog is suffering from separation anxiety since the behavior is abnormal and well on display for you to see. Some signs you should look out for are:
This behavior is pretty prevalent for bulldogs that suffer from separation anxiety. Chewing and biting at furniture, carpets and pretty much anything else they can get their hands on is pretty common. This can cause havoc in your home and is a behavior that must be reversed for both yours and your dog’s sanity.
Drooling and uninterested in food
It is fair to say that bulldogs do tend to drool in general, but if you would consider this behavior as excessive and happening much more frequently you may have a very unhappy pooch on your hands. Bulldogs that suffer separation anxiety can often go off their food and will only want to eat when you are around. Check out this great video that shows how to manage this hunger strike behavior.
American Bulldogs are a relatively quiet breed that does not take part in excessive or unnecessary braking behavior. If your bulldog starts to vocalize a lot more than usual then it is fair to say that they may be suffering from separation anxiety. Barking, growling, grunting and whining is pretty common.
Uncontrolled bladder and bowel Movements
With proper training early on most dogs, in general, are taught that when they need the toilet they must go outside, either in the garden or out for a walk. Toileting in the house should be a thing of the past once puppy training is complete. If your bulldog starts peeing and defecating excessively in the home then separation anxiety may be the cause.
As well as destruction in the home, American Bulldogs are known to become destructive towards themselves when suffering from separation anxiety. Self-harming is common and can consist of biting at chewing at their body such as their hair and paws. This behavior in particular can be heart-breaking for owners to witness.
Shaking and Shivering
Lastly, but certainly, not least you may notice your bulldog shanking and shivering if they are feeling anxious and lonely. Bulldogs love companionship and feel much safer in the presence of others. This can be a sign of nervousness and worry which is a very clear sign your bulldog may be suffering from separation anxiety.
How to Avoid Separation Anxiety
As you can see some of the signs of separation anxiety in bulldogs are not very pleasant and this is a situation you will want to nip in the bud as soon as possible for the welfare of both yourself and your canine friend.
With that being said, you’ll be pleased to hear there are numerous ways in which you can help your pooch overcome these issues with a bit of time and patience on your part. Let’s take a closer look at some of the steps you can take to help your bulldog get better control over their emotions and unwanted behaviors.
Training from Young
As the saying goes, start as you mean to go on, and this couldn’t be any a truer word when it comes to your canine friend. Early socialisation and training from a young age can make all the difference in how your bulldog feels when you are not around. Early training helps to develop their brain and habits which can lead to a much happier and relaxed dog. Training can also help promote independence which can help eliminate the anxiety experienced from separation.
Get Into a Routine
One of the key parts of training is getting your bulldog into a regular daily routine and sticking to it. That way your dog understands when you will be absent and when you will be available for one on one time so they can effectively have something to look forward to. Bulldogs thrive on a routine which can help them become much more balanced and independent when they know they need to be.
Crate training is most commonly reserved for puppies however many types of dogs will need to be kept in a crate whilst owners are not at home. Bulldogs can become pretty destructive, particularly if they are suffering from severe separation anxiety. To ensure your sofa stays intact and your carpets are not ripped to shreds crate training can be a great way to stop this unwanted behavior.
Make Sure You Give Them Attention in the Time You Do Have
Even though you may not be at home all the time it is important that when you do have the time you dedicate some of this to your bulldog. Once your bulldog is aware that once you get home from work they will have you all to themselves this can often eliminate some of the anxiety they experience throughout the day. Instead of feeling depressed and anxious, they have something to look forward to instead.
Make Sure All Their Needs Are Met While You Are Not There
Whilst you are not at home always make sure your bulldog has everything they could possibly need to keep them feeling happy and safe. Check before you leave the house that your bulldog has a clean, fresh supply of water that will last them whilst you are not there. Leave a handful of biscuits out that they can munch on throughout the day (weight management permitting) and provide a safe place for your dog to cuddle up for a snooze such as their favorite dog bed or blanket.
Make Sure They Have Toys
Toys are an important aspect of keeping your bulldog engaged and fully entertained throughout the day whilst you are not around to keep them occupied. Providing safe dog toys can help keep your bulldog focus their energy elsewhere and can ease boredom and reduce stress levels.
Destruct Proof the House
One of the best ways to deter a destructive bulldog that tends to throw their toys out of the pram when you are not there is to destruct proof your house. Cover furniture to prevent biting and scratching and remove any loose or dangerous items that your bulldog may want to get hold of. Remove garbage bags, mend gaps and holes, tie-down your possessions and minimize escape routes. Doggy doors can also be a great idea if you have a secure back garden.
Have another Dog in the House
Since bulldogs adore the company of others it could be an idea to buy your pooch another doggy companion if your circumstances permit. Many owners experience a reduction of separation anxiety in their bulldogs when introducing another into the household. Bulldogs generally get on better with most bigger dogs, however, a breed of the opposite sex is usually recommended.
How to Train Your American Bulldog to Overcome Separation Anxiety
Training is highly recommended for American Bulldogs that suffer from separation anxiety. There are a series of simple steps you can take which will help with training your bulldog to learn to be left on their own without the need of taking your canine friend to a professional dog trainer:
- Stay calm when entering or leaving your house. Do not make a big deal or fuss out of this activity. Dogs feed off our vibes and behaviors and therefore a calming influence is required.
- Leave items around the house that smells like you as a comforting tool.
- Devise a word or sentence to use every time you leave the house that will signal to your dog that you will be back. Use a soothing and calming tone of voice.
- Don’t always get involved when your dog is playing with toys. Allow them the opportunity to get used to playing on their own so they are comfortable doing this when you are not there.
- In small stages confine your bulldog to certain rooms in the house for a short period so they can get used to being on their own. Make a huge fuss of them when you return so they get used to being left alone, but with the knowledge that you will always be coming back.
How to Stop My American Bulldog from Chewing and Biting Everything?
In addition to training, there are a series of calming medications on the market for dogs both man-made and natural that can help with anxiety.
There many types of over the counter calming medications on the market that are designed specifically for dogs. For the most part, these are not particularly strong, however, you may find these to be helpful in mild cases of separation anxiety since they have a calming influence and are formulated to take the edge off.
You will find that most of these medications are made up of herbs that have been proven to help with calming and reducing stress. For the most part, this type of everyday medication works well, but anything stronger must be prescribed by your vet.
CBD products are becoming much more popular these days in both human and animal medications to help relieve anxiety and stress-related symptoms. CBD is a natural product that is extracted from the cannabis plant and is showing great promise as a natural healing remedy.
Many CBD brands on the market are now widely available and have been specifically designed for dog use. One of the very best right now is Nuleaf Naturals which has shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels in our canine friends.
Check out their website for more details
Consult Your Vet for Other Medications
If you are at all worried about your bulldog’s separation anxiety you must speak to your qualified vet who will be able to advise you further. Stronger medications may be required however these can only be obtained via prescription.
Are American Bulldogs Destructive?
For the most part, American Bulldogs are very cool, calm and collected. They are not known to be excitable dogs and have relatively low energy levels however separation anxiety can, unfortunately, send them over the edge. This can cause destructive behavior which some would say is very out of character for the breed.
How Can I Calm a Dog Panic Attack?
Stay calm yourself. It can be easy for you to start panicking too. Stay close to your dog and use a quiet and calming voice as a soothing tool. Make sure your dog is comfortable and secure. Provide a blanket that is familiar to them and wrap around their body to help them stay warm and cozy.
How Long Can an American Bulldog Be Left Alone
American bulldogs should not ideally be left at home for long periods and a general rule of thumb for most breeds is no more than 4 hours. This can be tricky particularly if you are a working professional that is out at work for most of the day. Try to make a trip home at lunchtime if you can to break up the day for your pooch or ask a friend or neighbor to pop in throughout the day if you have the means to do so.
Conclusion and Key Take-Aways
In conclusion, there are some key things to take away when dealing with an American Bulldog that suffers from separation anxiety:
- Most Bulldogs suffer from some form of separation anxiety and this is a consideration you must take into account before deciding to take on this breed.
- You must ensure you have plenty of time to spend with your bulldog when you are at home to make up for the time that you are away. This gives your dog something to look forward to.
- Training from an early age is highly recommended and separation anxiety is something you are likely able to avoid in the future if your bulldog has taken part in all the right training that has provided themselves with a sense of independence.
- The signs of separation anxiety in bulldogs are very clear. Can you remember what these are?
- Having a defined daily routine is key since bulldogs love stability. Try to keep your schedule as repetitive as possible so your bulldog knows what to expect and when.
- Make sure your bulldog has all they need at home when you are not there such as food, water, a comfortable place to rest and toys to keep them entertained.
- Calming medication is widely available to buy over the counter however if you think you need something a little stronger a trip to your vets is highly recommended.