Separation Anxiety in Dogs
The attachment of some dogs to their guardians is immense. The dogs are pack animals and therefore are genetically accustomed to spending 24 hours a day with companions. If we add inadequate socialization, sudden routine changes, frustration for lack of daily physical activity, and spending many hours alone at home, it is not surprising that a dog develops a state of anxiety and uncontrollable nervousness for him.
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To learn how to identify and solve this disorder, YourCatCareguide teaches everything you need to know about separation anxiety in dogs .
What Is Separation Anxiety
When there is a hyper attachment to the owner on the part of the dog that leads to the appearance of a series of problems when the animal is alone at home, we speak of the so-called separation anxiety. These problems that happen are motivated by the fear that the dog experiences when feeling that he is away from his guardian. He feels threatened, in danger, and activates a state of alert that can result in the destruction of objects, desperate crying, etc. As its name implies, the separation over a period of time (whether short or not) between the dog and the tutor produces an uncontrollable state of anxiety in the animal.
Dogs are animals accustomed to living in packs. Even if you can not believe that they can develop this type of disorder, 15% of the canine population suffers from this problem. If dogs are not adequately accommodated and their behavior is ignored, they can create an unhappy, sad, stressed or anxious dog. In any case, it is essential to intervene and end this situation as soon as possible.
Causes of anxiety
Before we deepen the symptomatology of this type of anxiety and its possible solutions, it is important to talk about the most common causes that motivate the problem.
As stated in the previous section, the main reason you develop separation anxiety in dogs is excessive attachment to your guardian. However, if what you are looking for is the triggering factor that triggered the anxiety in your dog, you should pay attention to the following:
- If you spent most of the day with your dog and for some reason you stopped doing it, that’s probably the cause of the problem. Going from a routine in which the guardian is always present to a routine in which the dog spends many hours alone at home can trigger the state of anxiety in the animal.
- In relation to the previous point, did you make any changes in your daily routine or habits? If so, that may be the reason.
- Changed your house recently? In the same way that you need a period of adjustment to the new home, your companion as well. When a tutor decides to change, you should keep in mind that, depending on the personality of your dog, you should follow a series of steps to get him to get used to the new home as soon as possible.
- It is possible that your puppy will feel frustrated or bored . Do you dedicate enough time to your daily walks? Do not forget that to keep you healthy and happy, you must be informed about the amount of physical activity he needs and provide for it.
- If your dog has developed this condition all of a sudden, without feeling an excess of attachment to you or any of the above, the cause can be a traumatic experience you have experienced while you were alone at home.
If the puppy with separation anxiety is still a puppy, the cause may be an early weaning. It is very important to respect the time the puppy must spend with his mother and siblings before weaning him, start feeding him with food and adopting it. In this case, the anxiety the animal suffers from anxiety for being separated from his brothers and mother, which he considered his pack. On the other hand, if you do not socialize your puppy properly in the first 4 months of life, it may also be triggering this disorder.
Symptoms of separation anxiety
Anxiety can be identified through a series of strange or abnormal behaviors that we can easily check on the dog. The main symptoms of this condition are:
- The dog appears to be restless, nervous and distressed when he notices that his guardian is about to leave home.
- Destructive behavior. When he is alone at home, he can destroy objects, furniture and even spread the garbage.
- Excessive barking , whining and, depending on the breed of the dog, can even howl when alone.
- Urinate and defecate in the home. In well-trained dogs, accustomed to doing their needs on the street, this unusual behavior may be the key that tells us that something is happening.
- Reception exaggerated. Puppies with separation anxiety very attached to their guardians tend to welcome them with displays of extreme affection and affection. They may even leak a few drops of urine with such emotion.
- Vomiting. In severe cases of anxiety, dogs may vomit.
If it has been detected that your dog has any or all of these symptoms, you should take him to the vet to ensure that it is separation anxiety and that it is not the result of a physical anomaly or internal pathology.
Fighting Separation Anxiety
Do not forget that, in order for a dog to notice that he has done something wrong, he must reprimand him the moment he is doing it. That way, if you get home and find spoiled objects or furniture, it will do no good to scold or punish the dog. For him to understand, he must catch him red-handed in the act he wants to correct.
On the other hand, if when you get home your dog receives you with excessive affection, it is imperative not to respond to these shows of affection in the same way. To treat separation anxiety, you must stand firm and do not get carried away by the situation . Veterinarians recommend that you ignore the dog until it calms down. So does farewell. If, on leaving, you notice that your dog cries or barks, you should not approach to say goodbye and caress. Although you think you’re reassuring, it’s only worsening your condition. You must act normally.
In this sense, it is essential to get your puppy used to being alone at an early age. Even if you are a person accustomed to lead a sedentary life, it is essential that the tutor leave during the day , with no set time and increasingly longer for the dog to interpret this situation as normal. So, this can also be a good method to treat and reduce anxiety. Do not forget to not scold the dog if you get home and find something destroyed.
Take special care not to always leave at the same time or follow the same habits routine. That is to say, if before leaving always picking up the house keys, the wallet and the coat (for that shit order) must break with the routine of actions to prevent the dog to associate with the act of leaving him alone at home, getting anxious.
As you can see, the treatment of separation anxiety is often related to the cause. So the best solution is to always identify the reason that makes your puppy feel that way and find a solution. Consult your veterinarian , he will give advice and guidelines to follow to restore your dog’s stability.
Another option to help relax the dog is the use of synthetic pheromones .
Being essential to accomplish long exits in which your puppy should stay home alone a few hours, the toys will be your best allies. Do not forget that the best way to educate a dog is through positive reinforcement , so as to provide an environment in which the animal feels relaxed and enriched. Only then will he be able to relate to being alone with something negative.
That way, before you leave you can offer him gnawing bones that can be found at any veterinarian or pet store. On the other hand, toys that allow you to introduce food inside are really helpful in combating separation anxiety. It will take a long time to reach for the food that is hidden inside the toy and will be entertained in your absence, thus forgetting your fear of loneliness. This type of toys is known as ” kong “, a very useful tool for treating separation anxiety in the dog used by experts around the world.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest that you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you want to read more articles matching Dog Separation Anxiety , we recommend that you enter our Mental Problems section .