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What to do when your dog suffers separation anxiety

Separation Anxiety

Anxious dog on the look out for his owner

You will learn some common signs of pet separation anxiety in this article, and you will also learn some tips to help your pet cope.

Pet parents frequently complain of their dogs being disruptive or destructive when left alone. They may see their dogs urinating, defecating, barking, howling, chewing, digging, or trying to escape. While these symptoms can indicate a dog needs polite house manners training, they can also indicate distress. A dog's problems are not evidenced that he isn't housetrained or that he doesn't know what toys belong to him if they are accompanied by other distress behaviours, such as drooling and showing signs of anxiety at the thought of leaving the house.

Separation anxiety is the cause of these symptoms. Having to separate from their guardians, the people they're attached to triggers separation anxiety in dogs. When a dog has separation anxiety, they are likely to attempt to escape in an extreme way, resulting in self-injury and household destruction, mainly where windows and doors are located.

Separation anxiety can cause dogs to become agitated when their guardians prepare to leave. They also seem depressed or anxious when their guardians leave or are not present. They may try to prevent their guardians from leaving. Within minutes of being left alone, a dog with separation anxiety will often begin barking and displaying other distress behaviours. Whenever the guardian returns home, the dog acts like he hasn't seen his parents in years!

Treatment for separation anxiety involves teaching the dog to enjoy or tolerate being left alone by resolving the dog's underlying anxiety. A dog's anxiety is reduced if the situation that triggers it is recreated so that it does not provoke fear or anxiety in the dog.

What Is It?

Separation Anxiety in Dogs is stressful

When your dog has true separation anxiety, he destroys the house when you leave, the constant barking and whining start, or they make housetraining mistakes. Dogs that are hyper-attached to their owners get stressed out when left alone, resulting in separation anxiety. When you leave or while out, it's more than a bit of whining or mischief. Extreme anxiety is a serious condition that causes many dog owners to lose patience with them and give up on their pets. The good news is that you can do plenty to help.

The first step to understanding your dog's behaviour is to understand dogs with separation anxiety and what causes it:

  • When they are not used to being alone or when they are left alone for the first time
  • Change in Ownership
  • Leaving a shelter and moving into a home
  • Changing routines or schedules in the family
  • An untimely death in the family

Symptoms or signs of Separation Anxiety

 

In the absence of its owner, a dog with it shows a lot of stress and anxiety. They might:

  • An excessive barking, howling or whining
  • Despite being housetrained, they have indoor "accidents" or house soiling
  • Get into trouble by chewing things up (destructive chewing), digging holes, and scratching at windows and doors
  • Excessive drooling, panting, or salivation
  • Constantly pacing, sometimes obsessively
  • Attempt to escape

They will unlikely do any of these things at an extreme level while you're around. Separation anxiety dogs do these things almost continuously, whereas normal dogs do them occasionally.

What to do about it

Please consult your veterinarian first to rule out any medical conditions for anxiety or signs of anxiety. Sometimes dogs have home accidents due to infections, hormonal imbalances, or other health conditions. It could also be the result of incomplete house training. Some medications can cause accidents as well. Ask your veterinarian if any drugs you give your dog are responsible for the problem.

When the problem is mild 

Make sure your puppy gets a special treat every time you leave (a lick mat with peanut butter would be a great choice). Only give them this treat while you are away. When you get home, take this treat away.

Make your arrivals and departures low-key without a lot of greeting. During the first few minutes of your return home, ignore your pup.

Make sure you leave some recent clothes out that smell like you.

Natural calming supplements are available over-the-counter for your pet.

Severe Separation Anxiety

Your furry friend waiting for you to come home

Even the tastiest treats won't distract a dog with canine separation anxiety. It will take some time for them to adjust to your absence.

They may get nervous when they see you getting ready to leave, such as putting on your shoes or picking up your keys. Do those things, but don't leave. Sit down at the table after you've put on your shoes. Grab your keys and watch TV. Make sure to do this repeatedly throughout the day.

After your dog starts feeling more relaxed, you can gradually start to disappear. To begin with, step to the other side of the door. Close an inside door between you and your dog and ask him to stay. After a few seconds, reappear. Slowly increase your absence time. Pick up your keys and put on your shoes. You can ask your dog to stay while you go into another room.

Before leaving your dog, make sure it is relaxed. After they get used to the "stay game," increase your absence time. Then use a different door every time you go outside.

Be patient. The only person who can tell when your dog will be able to handle being left alone for a more extended period of time is you depending on your dog's level of anxiety and signs of stress. Once you've built up to 10 seconds apart, please give them a stuffed treat. When you make leaving a big deal - lots of hugs and goodbyes or asking whether they'll miss you - your dog will assume it's a big deal.

After a couple of sessions, start by leaving the house for a few minutes at a time, and gradually increase your time leaving the house. Stay away for longer and longer periods.

Dogs of all breeds

Separation Anxiety impacts all dogs

As a pet parent, your pet must get lots of exercise every day. Tired and happy dogs are less likely to be stressed when you leave them. Keeping your pet's mind challenged is also essential. Organise a training session and play fetch. Use interactive puzzles like lick mats for mental stimulation with high-value foods. Exercise their minds as well as their bodies. Then they won't be anxious while you're away since they'll be busy, happy, and tired. These are some ways your can treat signs of anxiety with your doggo.

You should consult your dog's veterinarian before attempting behaviour modification for separation anxiety. The use of medication alone, without accompanying behaviour modification, can work for some dogs with mild separation anxiety.

In most cases, however, medication and behavior modification are necessary. You can help your dog with anxiety by reaching out to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist near you. Dogs with anxiety can be stressed. Hopefully, this article will give you some information with some practical, simple steps on how to resolve it.

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