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Coping with Canine Separation Anxiety

Canine separation anxiety is a common complete. The dog will exhibit extreme nervousness and stress any time you leave the pet alone. The severity of symptoms can vary, but in many cases, the dog becomes extremely destructive. 

You can prevent canine separation anxiety with a young pup through proper training and socialization but overcoming the mental condition in adult dogs becomes challenging. 

Understanding Canine Separation Anxiety

Your pet might look forlorn, cry, and whimper when you leave the animal, but such behavior is perfectly normal when you disappear, and your buddy finds himself alone.  However, canine separation anxiety is much worse. It is another level of anxiety and fear. Your dog might bark non-stop, tear apart furniture, chew holes through the door or drywall, and urinate/defecate when left alone. 

Dogs exhibit separation anxiety in many ways such as:

  • Pacing
  • Trembling
  • Hiding
  • Destructive acts 
  • Accidents in the home 
  • Escape attempts
  • Excessive salvation
  • Panting 

Separation anxiety is common in dogs that have been relinquished to shelters or passed through various homes. Also, it is one of the leading causes that owners get rid of their dogs, according to the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 

Other Causes of Separation Anxiety

Other causes of separation anxiety include:

  • Poor Breeding: Dogs that came from puppy mills often have elevated levels of stress which can lead to separation anxiety later in life. 
  • Trauma: Traumatic triggers also impact the dog such as a death in the family, divorce, or move. 
  • Dementia:  As a dog gets older, it can experience cognitive decline which causes confusion and leads to separation anxiety. 

Treating Dog Separation Anxiety

Owners cannot be with their beloved put 24/7. You must go to work, school, shopping, or leave the house for other reasons. It is imperative that you overcome separation anxiety.

  • Crate Training: Dogs are natural den animals. In the wild, the wolves and other canines seek safety in a den. Your domesticated dog’s DNA pushes the animal to feel safest in a den-like setting which is why crate training is ideal. Your furry friend will come to see the crate as a safe retreat. A place of calmness and solace which is beneficial for animals that suffer from separation anxiety. 
  • Desensitize: Leave Fido alone for short periods of time. Before you leave, give the dog a high value treat that you know he will enjoy. Some pets start to associate being left alone with receiving a treat. 
  • Exercise: Take your dog for a walk or play a game of fetch before you leave to tire out the animal, so they rest and relax while you are gone.
  • Medication: Sometimes you’ll need to turn to medications to calm your dog. Talk with your veterinarian about prescription medications. You can also explore homeopathic treatments such as CBD and pheromone collars which bring rest and relaxation to the pet. Compress shirts act like swaddling a baby and have also been shown as a successful option. 

Dog separation anxiety is not easy to overcome but with time and patience, you can conquer the problem. 

 


7 comments

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  • My dachshund sits at the door as soon as she sees me getting dressed and forget about picking up my keys. I get out by tossing her a treat in the opposite direction. I hate to trick her but I do not want to give her drugs. She does love to chew through her beds too. I never heard of a calming collar before. Elizabeth, please let us know how it works.

    Lisa Centofanti
  • How did Elizabeth find the right dosage for passion flower for a small dog? I know it’s wonderful for humans.

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  • My Border Collie had traumatic experiences before I got her. She is very nervous but I can leave her crated for short periods. I have tried a homeopathic from Sprouts named Passion Flower in a spoonful of peanut butter. Works for me too. Just got a calming collar to try as well. Her main negative behavior is chewing stuffed comforters, which she did as well to her own stuffed bedding before I changed out for something more substantial. Thunderstorms are a big NO WAY and she finds tiny spaces to hide and refuses to go out to the bathroom until storm over. In all other ways she is wonderful.

    Elizabeth Ogden

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