How To Deal With Separation Anxiety in Dogs

photoYour dog’s barks may not always say the same thing. You might think that your furry friend is asking for treats when he comes up to you, but it is also possible that he feels afraid and is experiencing canine separation anxiety. Studies have shown that just like humans, dogs can also be overwhelmed with fear when they are left behind.

Separation anxiety in dogs typically occurs when a pooch is greatly attached to his owner. It is triggered when he senses that his owner is about to leave. Normal activities such as getting your car keys or opening doors may be harmless and routine, but these can make your canine companion uneasy.

So how do you know if your dog has separation anxiety?

* He howls, whines, and barks.
* He urinates and defecates even if he is housetrained.
* He chews and scratches furniture, shoes, and other items.
* He follows you around the house.
* He digs and scratches at doors to reunite with you.
* He is excited, anxious, or depressed whenever you prepare to leave.
* He greets you frantically.
* The behavior occurs mostly when he’s alone and usually begins after you leave.

If most or all of the above are true about your dog, then he may have separation anxiety. The good news is, it can be treated. Here are some tips for dealing with minor cases:

* Leave a piece of clothing that smells like you, such as a shirt that you’ve worn recently.
* Don’t make a big fuss over arrivals and departures. Ignore your dog first for a few minutes when you get home, then pet him calmly.
* Use a certain word or action every time you leave that lets your dog know you will return.
* You can also ask your vet about drug therapy.

When treating dog separation anxiety, remember to never use punishment as this can aggravate the situation. Don’t place your pet in a crate as he might injure himself trying to escape. Getting another dog doesn’t help either because his anxiety is not just about being alone, it’s the result of being separated from you.

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