Maltese Separation Anxiety: What to Do

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Maltese Separation AnxietyA lot of dog breeds suffer from separation anxiety, which means that when they are left alone they just cannot cope. Certain breeds are more prone to this than others, and that is something that owners should definitely consider when they’re looking at getting a new dog. If you’re working out of an office or have a busy social life, this is important to consider!

Do Maltese dogs suffer from separation anxiety? Are they alright to be left alone at all? Here’s all that you need to know.

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What Is Canine Separation Anxiety?

Canine separation anxiety, sometimes known as separation-related behavior, is a condition that happens when a dog is left alone and becomes incredibly distressed. Certain, more sensitive breeds are particularly prone to developing separation-related behavior, and as such are not recommended to be left alone if it can be helped.

Separation anxiety can come in many forms, depending on the dog and breed, and even the situation. Generally speaking, though, the symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include destructive behavior (such as chewing and destroying furniture), howling, barking, whining, toileting indoors, excessive excitement when their owners return, sadness or shyness when their owners leave, trembling, panting, excessive salivation, self-injury (such as excessive paw licking or tail biting), repetitive behavior, vomiting and even a lack of appetite.

It is rare that these symptoms will occur all together in one dog, but separation-related behavior will likely cause a handful of these signs.

Are Maltese Prone to Separation Anxiety?

The Maltese is related very closely to the Bichon Frise, and as such is a very sensitive dog breed. The breed is very emotionally intuitive, which is a bonus, but the breed’s sensitivity also leads them to be very close to humans. This can, and often does, make them prone to separation anxiety. Since the breed craves closeness, when this is taken away, a Maltese can suffer.

Many Maltese owners have reported that their pup has developed separation anxiety. The breed loves it when people are around and will do all it can to be as close to its people as possible. As soon as the safety blanket of its owners is taken away, the breed begins to become distressed.

How Long and How Often Can You Leave Your Maltese Alone?

Unlike some other dogs that are highly sensitive and prone to separation anxiety, the Maltese can still be left alone for longer than just an hour or so. The breed can, if trained and provided with enough support, be left alone for around 6-7 hours a few days a week.

Any longer than this, though, and the breed will begin to develop anxious feelings. Of course, this varies from dog to dog. Some Maltese are very sensitive and will be more likely to suffer from separation anxiety, whereas some Maltese can cope with it much easier.

You won’t be able to judge how well your Maltese will cope with being separated without slowly beginning to leave your Maltese alone. Trying bit by bit will help you to gauge this. You can also begin to train your Maltese to handle time alone from a young age, which can make the breed less inclined to develop separation anxiety.

What Will Happen If Your Maltese Suffers From Separation Anxiety?

As mentioned above, there are a large number of symptoms that are likely to arise when a dog develops separation anxiety. It isn’t easy to predict what is likely to happen if your Maltese suffers from separation anxiety, but the most common symptoms are easy to keep an eye out for.

Typically, one of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety is barking and howling. Some dogs are more prone to doing this even without developing separation anxiety. If, however, you have noticed that your dog has started to bark, whine, or howl much more than ever before, it may be a suggestion that your Maltese is developing or has developed separation anxiety.

One of the other common symptoms that Maltese might present is urinating and defecating. The breed is difficult to housebreak as it is, but, when it is experiencing anxiety or depression, like that caused by separation anxiety, it has a tendency to forget any housebreaking training that you have taught it. You may notice that your Maltese is going to the bathroom indoors, often whilst you’re away. This could be a sign of other conditions, though, so it may be worth taking your Maltese to the vet.

In addition to defecating inside, your Maltese may well begin to destroy furniture, shoes, rugs, toys, etc. You will likely notice that this has developed very suddenly, alongside pacing or other symptoms. All of these may also accompany your dog undergoing personality changes, too.

3 Ways to Reduce Your Maltese’s Separation Anxiety

Next, we’ll look at a few ways to reduce your Maltese’s separation anxiety.

Crate Train Your Maltese

If you’re looking for a way to prevent your Maltese from developing separation anxiety, crate training them is a really important and useful tool. Crate training is when you create what is essentially a safe space for your Maltese that is theirs and theirs alone.

Providing a safe space and treating or rewarding your Maltese for spending time there can really help to provide positive emotional connections for your Maltese. Then, when you aren’t there, they can head to the crate for a sense of security.

Provide Mental Stimulation

When you leave your dog alone for the day, they absolutely need to have something to do. If you leave your Maltese alone with nothing but their crate or their usual toys, you will likely find that they begin to develop separation anxiety in part just due to their boredom.

One way to solve this is to invest in some interactive and mentally stimulating toys. Puzzle feeders, electronic toys, or dog cameras that allow you to send out rewards on a regular basis will help to keep them on their toes and entertained throughout the day.

Leaving the TV or radio on can also help to provide really good mental stimulation, and can distract your Maltese from outdoor noise that may otherwise cause them to become upset or distressed.

Ensure You Provide Plenty of Exercise

Under-exercising your Maltese is very likely to contribute to the breed developing separation anxiety. It will cause a build-up of energy in your Maltese which can develop into nervous energy when they are left alone.


The Maltese is a dog that can cope with being left alone, but only a few days a week and in very short bursts. The breed is really lovely, and it loves affection, which can lead to it developing separation anxiety if left too long or too often.

There are, however, things that can be done to ease the time alone for your Maltese. Implementing certain changes and additional support for your pup can help to prevent them from developing a nervous disposition.

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