What Is Separation Anxiety?
Dogs run in packs in the wild, and are hard-wired to be surrounded by their families at all times. Many pups get anxious, sad, lonely, depressed, or distressed when left alone. This is called separation anxiety.
Dogs with separation anxiety sometimes whimper, bark, or howl when their human ‘pack members’ are away. If Fido makes a lot of noise when he’s alone, he may have anxiety.
Chewing is another way that our furry buddies express their anxiety. If you sometimes come home to find that Fido has chewed up your belongings, you may have a pup with separation anxiety.
Many of our canine friend’s destructive behaviors are actually rooted in anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety may tear up couch cushions, dig up the yard, or get into the trash when left alone.
Your canine pal may urinate or defecate inappropriately if he suffers from anxiety. Sometimes dogs with separation anxiety also engage in copophragia, which means they eat their own feces.
Sometimes lonely dogs will become so distressed that they try to escape. Fido may dig or bite at walls, floors, and doors, or even try to go out a window. This can be very dangerous!
What To Do
Separation anxiety is treatable. The steps you’ll need to take will depend on how severe your dog’s anxiety is, so you’ll want to consult a professional. That said, there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. Make sure Fido gets plenty of exercise, and has lots of toys to keep him occupied when he’s alone. Don’t punish your canine pal for his anxiety: this may only make him more distressed. Last but not least, avoid drawn-out greetings or farewells. Paying attention to your pooch when you are coming or going may only reinforce his behavior.
Do you know or suspect that Fido has separation anxiety? We can help! For information on our behavioral counseling services, call us, your Moorpark, CA animal clinic, today.