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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

September 15 2015

Does your canine buddy sometimes get into mischief when he’s left alone? Do you often return home to find that Fido has gotten into the trash, chewed up your sofa cushions, or dug holes in the yard? If so, your furry pal may be suffering from separation anxiety. A local Crown Point, IN veterinarian discusses canine separation anxiety in this article.

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Dogs with separation anxiety often feel anxious, sad, lonely, or depressed when their owners are away. The root cause of this anxiety is very much connected to the pack mentality that is hardwired into Fido’s brain. In the wild, dogs run in packs, and are rarely left alone. Our canine friends think of their human families as their packs, and often feel uneasy when separated from them.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Many times, the signs of separation anxiety are mistaken for simple bad doggy behavior. Fido may dig, chew, or defecate inappropriately if he has separation anxiety. He may also bark, pace, whine or howl, and could even try to escape. Pica can also be a sign of separation anxiety.

Treating Separation Anxiety

There are ways you can help your canine buddy deal with his fears, though the exact steps to take will really depend on how severe his anxiety is. Ask a vet or professional dog behaviorist for specific advice. That said, there are some general rules of thumb you can follow. Provide your pooch with plenty of fun toys, so he can keep himself occupied when he’s alone. Puzzle toys, such as Kong toys, are a great option for this, as they can keep dogs entertained for hours! Also, make sure your pup is getting enough exercise. If Fido has too much pent-up energy, he may channel it into bad habits.

What To Avoid

Never punish your dog for acting up when he’s alone. Dogs don’t think the way humans do, so your pup won’t understand why he’s being reprimanded, especially after the fact. As a result, Fido may feel scared, anxious, or angry. This can lead to even more behavioral problems. Also, avoid paying attention to your furry pal when you are coming or going. You might unintentionally be rewarding his behavior!

Do you have questions about your dog’s health, care, or behavior? Call us! As your Crown Point, IN veterinary clinic, we are always happy to help.