5 Signs Your Shih Tzu is Suffering from Separation Anxiety

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Separation anxiety can be distressing for both Shih Tzu and owner alike. Recognizing the signs early is crucial for addressing this issue and ensuring your pet’s well-being. Here are five key signs that indicate your Shih Tzu may be suffering from separation anxiety:

Excessive Vocalization

One of the primary signs of separation anxiety in Shih Tzus is excessive vocalization when left alone. Your dog may bark, whine, or howl persistently after you leave the house. This vocalization is often a distress call, as your pet feels anxious and abandoned in your absence. Pay attention to the intensity and duration of these vocalizations, as they can indicate the severity of your dog’s anxiety.

Excessive vocalization can lead to neighbor complaints or even legal issues in some cases. Addressing this behavior promptly can help prevent escalation and improve your Shih Tzu’s well-being.

Destructive Behavior

Destructive behavior is another common manifestation of separation anxiety in Shih Tzus. Your dog may engage in chewing furniture, scratching doors, or digging carpets in an attempt to escape or alleviate their anxiety. This behavior is typically focused on exit points, such as doors and windows, as your dog tries to reunite with you. Take note if these behaviors occur exclusively when you’re away from home.

Destructive behavior not only damages your home but also poses a risk to your Shih Tzu’s health if they ingest harmful objects. Providing appropriate chew toys and mental stimulation can help redirect this behavior in a positive way.

Potty Accidents Indoors

If your house-trained Shih Tzu starts having accidents indoors when left alone, it could be a sign of separation anxiety. Dogs experiencing anxiety may urinate or defecate inside the house, even if they are typically well-behaved. This behavior stems from the stress and insecurity your pet feels when separated from you, disrupting their usual potty routine.

Accidents indoors can be frustrating for owners but punishing your Shih Tzu for this behavior can worsen their anxiety. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and creating a calm environment to help alleviate their stress.

Excessive Salivation or Drooling

Excessive salivation or drooling when you’re preparing to leave or after you’ve left is a physiological sign of separation anxiety in Shih Tzus. This stress-induced drooling can occur due to the anxiety and fear your dog experiences when anticipating your departure. Monitor your pet for signs of damp fur around the mouth or excessive wetness on surfaces where they’ve been lying down.

Excessive salivation can lead to discomfort and even skin irritation if not addressed. Providing distractions like puzzle toys or calming treats can help redirect their focus and reduce anxiety-related drooling.

Shadowing Behavior

Shih Tzus suffering from separation anxiety may exhibit shadowing behavior when you’re home. They might follow you from room to room, refusing to leave your side even for short periods. This clinginess is a manifestation of their fear of being separated from you. While it may seem endearing at first, excessive shadowing can indicate underlying anxiety issues that need to be addressed.

Shadowing behavior can disrupt your daily activities and indicate your Shih Tzu’s dependence on your presence. Gradually encouraging independence through short separations and positive reinforcement can help alleviate this behavior.


Identifying and addressing separation anxiety in your Shih Tzu is essential for their well-being and your peace of mind. By recognizing these signs—excessive vocalization, destructive behavior, potty accidents indoors, excessive salivation or drooling, and shadowing behavior—you can take proactive steps to help your pet cope with anxiety.

Training, behavioral modification, and creating a safe environment are key strategies in managing separation anxiety. Gradual desensitization to your departures, providing interactive toys or comfort items, and establishing a predictable routine can help alleviate your Shih Tzu’s anxiety.

Consulting with a veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist is advisable for a comprehensive assessment and tailored treatment plan. With patience, understanding, and the right approach, you can help your Shih Tzu feel more secure and comfortable when left alone, ensuring they lead a happy and balanced life.

Your dedication to their care will pay off in years of companionship and joy, making every moment with your beloved Shih Tzu even more precious.


Hey there! I've been with Shihtzuadvice.com for almost a year now, and as a pet lover with five rescued dogs and five rescued cats, I can confidently say that Shih Tzus are the ultimate companions – full of charm, loyalty, and endless love!

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