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Separation Anxiety in Dogs – Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options

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It’s really wonderful that we think that animals don’t have a heart and emotions, but actually they have which is more intense than we humans. No wonder, pets suffer from many mental disorders like separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a quite commonly occurring emotional disorder in pets and put the pet parent into great confusion. Here are some helpful tips.

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What Exactly is Separation Anxiety?

Vets like that from Killara Vet Clinic sees many pets are closely attached to their parents and can experience an anxiety upon being alone and can show some destructive and difficult to manage behaviors, like barking and house soiling. Some pets may not show such obvious signs, but may undergo accidents inside the house though they are well-trained otherwise.

Obsessive chewers are usually trying to deal with their problems in a different manner. Dogs that are maddening your neighbours by barking throughout the day may in fact be undergoing distress and separation anxiety.

Cause of Separation Anxiety

It is believed that separation anxiety has a genetic basis, hence sadly some dogs will develop the problem despite being socialized and well-trained otherwise. Dogs that are excessively bonded to their parents and sparsely left alone can badly suffer if they have never been trained to be alone.

Dogs are sociable animals. They are not actually created to be alone throughout the day while you work. They naturally tend to live in groups so the way our today’s dog has to usually live is quite unnatural.

How to Know if Your Pet Has it?

If your dog begins to whine, follow you everywhere and probably pace upon noticing signs of your leaving the house, he may be anxious about your leaving. If you return to home to see accidents in the house and all your precious belongings being chewed, your dog may have a separation anxiety. If you get information from your neighbours that your dog barks, whines and howls when you are away, it’s a sign of separation anxiety.

How to Treat Mild Separation Anxiety?

In case of a mild problem, a pheromone collar can work well. It releases a relaxing odour that can only be detected by dogs and offers comfort to him as if he was feeding with his mother. Another tool is also available for a dog craving for touch and body contact.

Another solution is a toy filled with treats (kong) and chews which you should give your dog while leaving the house. The action of chewing greatly relieves dogs’ stress.

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How to Treat a Severe Case?

Many dogs that have a well-established behaviour gets worse over time. In such dogs, there is a need of medications to help cope up with the problem. This doesn’t mean that you should dope your dog up only to sedate him. You should give medications that reduce anxiety and enable his brain chemistry to come back to a more normal state.

You can get many such medications at vet hospitals like Gordon Vet hospital in North Turramurra, NSW, and they can help your pet acquire a happier state of calm. These medications are best used in association with counter conditioning and desensitisation.

Predeparture Anxiety

In dogs that begin showing the signs of separation anxiety even before you leave the house, changing your routine can be useful. For example if he begins pacing when you get your coat, keys and bag, do it, but go back and sit down on the couch instead of leaving. Thus change your routine till it becomes less predictable.

Crate Training

Sometimes, training dogs to accept confinement in a crate that can become their safer haven is useful. In the beginning, place a treat or kong filled with treats in the crate and coax your dog to stay in, but don’t shut the door. Reward quiet behaviour. This trick may take a long time to work and sometimes even may make the dog worse.

Don’t forget to consult your vet about your dog’s separation anxiety and the various available treatment options.

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