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Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

Does your dog destroy things in the house, howl or cry, or soil the house when left alone? He probably suffers from separation anxiety. Despite what many owners think, he is not being spiteful or angry, he is truly terrified of being left without his key protector.

So what is an owner to do?

First, bring your pet in to see us so we can make sure that the condition doesn’t have a medical component.

Second, evaluate the situation. A camera that records your pet’s behavior while you are gone is ideal. Most anxious dogs will start the behavior within 30 minutes, if it is anxiety-driven. If it is boredom, it may occur later.

If you can arrange for your pet to go for daycare or stay at a friend’s house, that is ideal. If not, the following steps may help.

  • Discourage hyper attachment by not greeting you pet effusively when you come it. Try to make it seem that it is not such a big deal that you returned.
  • Make your departures as calm as possible and try to train your pet that every time you do the same things, like pick up your purse or briefcase, pick up your keys or put on your coat, you are not always leaving. Try to disconnect these “departure cues” from actual departures by doing them many times in the day without leaving.
  • Put out special things like food puzzles or kong toys filled with canned food, peanut butter or squirt cheese when you leave. Take up immediately when you return. These are treats for when your pet is alone.
  • Use a dog anxiety vest that applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling an infant.
  • Non-prescription things like an Adaptil diffuser, alpha-casozepine, or l-theanine may help.
  • In many cases, prescription drugs may be necessary.

For more information:

Please contact us to let us help you and your pet.

Chateau Veterinary Hospital
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