Separation Anxiety in Dogs: Learn the Signs, Causes and Treatment Options
Anxiety in dogs is a common problem. It affects both the dog and its owner, inflicting emotional distress. It can occur to dogs of different ages and breeds. Most dog lovers have quoted this as one of the reasons why they have to give up their pets too soon. In most cases, separation anxiety in dogs is caused by separation from its previous owner. Some pets are able to deal with it after some days whereas others may need assistance.
How do you know that your dog has separation anxiety?
First, it will tend to be unnecessarily anxious when it is away from its owner. The magnitude of the problem differs from one dog to another. Some will become very anxious when their owner is not close by. Such pets are likely to follow the owner wherever they go. Others will not mind to be in a room where the owner is not.
Occasionally, they will check on them and then continue with whatever they were doing previously. Another group is not anxious until they recognize that the owner has gone out. Some pooches show signs of separation anxiety as soon as its owner walks out the door, while others become anxious after a prolonged period of time alone.
The behavior of separation anxiety heightens depending on the period of time the dog’s owner has been away. Common signs of this behavioral problem include:
Some dogs will scratch and tear on your personal items. The affected dog will show one or more of the aforementioned signs.
Dogs with this problem have been reported to break their nails and teeth as they try to destroy items including doors and crates. Some will go as far as trying to jump out of the house through the window. Their problem only subsides when the owner is home again only to return the next time they go out. They are so excited when the owner comes. They whine, bark and circle, to show that they are happy.
What could be the cause of separation anxiety?
The truth is experts are yet to establish the reason why some dogs are anxious when their owners are away whereas other dogs are not. The problem can affect those dogs that have been bred in one home and in those who have been reared in several homes. However, most animals that suffer this behavioral problem have been abused in the past or they have been in multiple homes. Those dogs, which are separated from their owners, especially those who lived indoors, are likely to become victims of separation anxiety.
In addition, if a dog has not been in contact with humans, it is at the risk of suffering this form of anxiety. Puppies are also affected. Furthermore, a dog that has never suffered the problem could be a victim if the routine its owner uses has changed. If the entire household moves from one place to another with the dog, it might have separation anxiety. Dogs may also develop the anxiety when they are old.
As the owner, it is essential that you understand the dog has anxiety and it is not trying to communicate any other problem. If you punish or scold the pooch, it might end up aggravating the condition.
Is there something you can do to put your dog at ease?
Once you notice that your dog is exhibiting some of the discussed signs, you can do things like talk to your vet about the situation and seek online help from resources like www.onlinedogtrainer.com. The veterinarian will conduct a physical assessment on the dog. This way, they will ascertain that the signs you are observing are because of separation anxiety. For example, if your dog urinates indoors frequently, it might be because it was house trained inappropriately or it has a urinary infection. Again, the dog might bark in order to guard its territory, in particular if it hears another dog barking.
The vet will request some tests on your dog to make sure it does not have some underlying health conditions. The assessment may include urinalysis, blood count, ECG, and blood pressure as well as a chemistry profile, among others. The tests are very important and they will inform you and the vet about the health of the dog. Be sure to tell the veterinarian about any other medication the dog has been taking and its health history.
Can separation anxiety in dogs be treated?
To treat separation anxiety in dogs, a number of approaches are used. The techniques involve medication and behavioral modification exercises. The two are important for dogs with separation anxiety in order for them to heal fully. Actually, the medications are administered to maintain the dog in a relaxed mode so that it can be in a position to go through the modification exercises. The latter changes the way the dog responds to a stressful situation.
The medications used include fluoxetine and clomipramine. These are some of the drugs, which your vet is likely to prescribe. The medications may take a few weeks before they show any effects. Alprazolam is another drug which the vet may recommend. It is critical that you give the medications based on the instructions given. Even if the anxiety attacks occur when the owner leaves, the medications should be administered regularly.
Your vet will also recommend behavioral modification exercises. However, for the best exercises for treating your dog from separation anxiety, visit www.onlinedogtrainer.com. Here you will find effective modification exercises, which will lower the anxiety levels of the dog within no time. Some of the tips you will get on the site include some on the ways to teach your dog to be independent.
If you have a clingy dog, it has an anxiety problem. The separation anxiety will go away after a few weeks. It will gain a high level of confidence to remain calm whether you are around or not.
If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.