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Separation Anxiety In Dogs

June 17, 2021

Many owners complain that their dogs get destructive when they leave them alone - going as far as to urinate, defecate and even destroy furniture. These problems can be an indication that your dog is in distress, and they may be facing separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is proving to be a big problem currently as people head back to the office after long periods of working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is separation anxiety in dogs?

Separation anxiety in dogs is when the dog shows extreme  behavioral problems when it gets separated from its owner

What causes separation anxiety in dogs?

It gets triggered in dogs when they become upset about separation from their owners. Some causes might include:

  • Change in ownership
  • Sudden change in environment
  • Suddenly being left alone
  • Suffering from a past traumatic event

brown long coated small dog

Signs of separation anxiety in dogs

There are various signs and symptoms using which you can predict whether your dog faces separation anxiety. Here are some of the symptoms.

  • Excessive barking/howling/whining

A dog with separation anxiety might bark, howl, or whine a lot when you leave it alone. It is persistent, and it is not triggered by anything other than it being left alone.

  • Pacing

Some dogs and pups even walk in a repetitive path while it is left alone. Some walk in circular patterns while others in straight lines. It usually happens when the owner is not around.

  • Destructive acts like chewing or digging

Some dogs also chew on objects, doors, or windows. They may also destroy household items when they are left alone. This behavior is quite alarming as it can also result in self-injury.

  • Escaping

A dog or a puppy with separation anxiety can try to escape from the area where it is confined when left alone. As a result, the dogs might do many things that may result in self-injury.

How to treat separation anxiety in dogs?

Here are some of the ways using which you can treat separation anxiety in dogs. Treating separation anxiety in dogs can be challenging, but there are solutions.

  • Counterconditioning

It is a highly essential part of raising a mentally and physically healthy dog. You need to teach your dog to be comfortable in the world and also to be able to form positive associations with new experiences.

  • Crate training

The crate is a dog's friend and ally. It is a highly critical training tool that is also the solution for many challenges. The crate is not cruel or unhealthy if you use it appropriately. Instead, it can also provide the puppy with a safe and quiet place to relax.

  • Exercise

It is not the cure to separation anxiety, but it will surely help treat and prevent it. A dog should be getting enough physical exercise. 

  • Natural calming supplements

There are times when training and conditioning are not enough. Some veterinarians suggest medicines that treat depression, anxiety, and panic disorders.

Always be patient with your dog, and consult a professional animal behaviour specialist if your dog is facing severe separation anxiety.

This article is endorsed by perrovets' vet, Dr James Blanshard

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