As its well known fact that dogs can help to cure anxiety for people, we – dog owners – must also make sure that we pay attention to our dog’s health and help them to overcome any problems or issues they might have. Many dog owners don’t know that dogs can also have anxiety, mostly because of separation.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into dog’s separation anxiety, including the main symptoms and how to cure it.
What Is Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a condition that describes dogs that are very clingy or attached to their owners. This unfortunate condition can be triggered by any sudden changes in a dog’s life. This can be a situation where the owner is switched, and a child is going to school, a newborn baby arrives, or even a family pet passes away.
Besides, there could be a storm, fire, or worse, a home robbery. When a dog is a home alone in situations like these, it induces excessive levels of anxiety. It is hard for not only dogs but for anyone really to deal with that type of stuff alone.
Dogs act in unique ways with separation anxiety, depending on their personalities. When it starts to happen, the dog is filled with pure fear, and it doesn’t know what to do with these emotions. Therefore, that dog will do whatever it can to have that stress be relieved.
Separation Anxiety vs. Bad Behavior
It may be hard to distinguish if a dog has bad behavior or really does have separation anxiety. The first thing that dog owners should ask themselves is if they trained their dog correctly. There is a possibility that the dog is just bored and is just having fun doing whatever it desires; however, it is nevertheless an issue to look into.
A good idea would be to utilize a camera to film the dog’s movement during the day when the guardian is not home. Then compare it to when they are present.
Does the dog start to whine and pace when the owner leaves? Does it follow the owner carefully throughout the day? These are the signs to look out for.
If it’s not a separation anxiety, but instead a bad behavior, then you’ll need to start training and teaching your dog a discipline. SpiritDog Training is an excellent resource for online dog training courses, whatever questions you might have, their experts have the answers.
No one knows when anxiety stepped upon this earth; however, in life, one must learn to walk alongside that unstoppable villain. Anxiety is a feeling of unease that may come when facing uncertainty or an upcoming event. Often society mentions anxiety as an issue that people have become more open to discussing via social media as a mass struggle.
Yet, this is an issue that animals, particularly dogs, struggle with. Although dogs are fun animals to be surrounded with, every person needs their alone time. When a puppy encounters numerous issues when separated from its owner, it is suffering from separation anxiety.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
This symptom is not only destructive to everything within ones’ house but even the dog itself. When experiencing separation anxiety, it may chew objects, dig at doors, and destroy any household object within the dog’s reach. The dog may suffer from self-inflicted injuries such as cuts, scrapes, and even a broken tooth.
Dogs may end up urinating or defecating on the floor once the owner leaves. If this happens while the owner is present, that would mean that it does not have separation anxiety.
Some dogs end up walking fixedly when the owner leaves. It can be in a straight line or circles.
When the caretaker exits, the dog may bark persistently for an extensive period of time. This is something that may disturb neighbors, causing even more issues.
5. Runs Away
The dog may feel confined in a house with no one in it. As a result, it will find ways to get outside by cutting through doors or clawing at windows, resulting in the dog receiving wounds on its paws and possibly broken teeth.
Combating Separation Anxiety
Often, dog owners tend to get rid of their pups before figuring out the issue and resolving it. This deepens how much separation anxiety affects the dog. There is a multitude of solutions that can be used in helping the animal.
Engaging in exercise with the dog 30-60 minutes in advance exiting the household is an effective way to calm the feline. Depending on the dog’s age or personality, certain activities will be best suited for it. A dog may enjoy a frisk walk outside, or perhaps playing with small chewy toys. A tired dog will be a lot calmer than a dog with a lot of energy.
It would be best not to encourage the dog’s clingy behavior, no matter how distraught he/she may look afterward. While the owner is still home, practice a routine in which for 5 minutes, the dog will be forced to be alone in a room with toys. Slowly but surely, the pup will learn that being alone is not so bad.
Another idea would be to reward the dog every time it successfully stays well behaved while alone for some time. Countering separation anxiety with delicious treats when the owner returns, will comfort the dog.
It is not recommended to select this route unless all other options have not worked. If so, pet moms and dads should visit a local vet for the best treatment plans. This will be a process of trial and error, so owners should trend through this with patience.
Certain vets will prescribe medication, such as amitriptyline or alprazolam. Amitriptyline is a medication used to treat depression, whereas alprazolam is for panic or anxiety disorders.
If the owners feel uncomfortable with medication like these, an excellent natural medication to discuss with a vet would be Bach’s Rescue Remedy. A pup’s health should be a top priority.
Dogs Are Awesome
Dogs receive separation anxiety from traumatic experiences it undergoes in an isolated environment. How each dog deals with it is different. Yet, there are always solutions to every problem. In these circumstances, an owner has to be patient and have faith in their pups to overcome it. It will get better.