Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Do you sometimes come home to find that your dog has made a mess while you were out? Perhaps Fido has a habit of getting into the trash or eating your sofa cushions. This type of thing is often considered simple bad doggy manners, but in truth often stems from separation anxiety. A Chico, CA vet discusses canine separation anxiety in this article.

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a blanket term for the distress many dogs feel when they are separated from their owners. The cause is actually rooted in ancient doggy history. In the wild, our canine friends live in packs, and are rarely alone. Your pet thinks of you as his ‘pack mate’ and may feel lonely, sad, depressed, and/or anxious when you’re away.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways. As mentioned above, Fido may chew inappropriately or indulge himself in other destructive behaviors, such as digging. Your furry buddy may also pace, whine, bark, or howl when left alone. Inappropriate soiling can also be a sign of separation anxiety, as can trembling. Some dogs react by trying to eat things that aren’t food, which is known as pica. Or, they may try to escape.

Helping Fido Cope

There are ways to make Fido’s alone time better for him. Before you leave for work, indulge him with a long walk and a vigorous play session. This will burn off any excess energy he has. Afterwards, your canine pal will hopefully be tired, and will spend a chunk of the day napping. It’s also important to provide your pooch with plenty of fun toys to amuse himself with. Puzzle toys, such as Kong toys, are great for this. Pups can occupy themselves for hours with these doggy favorites!

Training

There are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind here. Be careful not to unintentionally reward your furry pal for his anxiety. How do you do that? Don’t pay any attention to your dog as you’re coming or going, especially if he’s overexcited. Ignore Fido until he’s acting calm. Never punish your pooch for acting up when you’re gone: this may only make him even more anxious. If your pet’s anxiety is severe, seek professional help.

Please call us, your Chico, CA vet clinic, for all your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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