How to Deal with Your Puppies’ Separation Anxiety
Just like humans, dogs are prone to developing separation anxiety when taken away from their brothers and sisters or if their owners leave them alone. While not all dogs will undergo the emotional distress associated with separation anxiety, trying to console a pet undergoing a difficult time can be confusing.
Dealing with separation anxiety can lead to high levels of stress in your pet that can cause them to act out, exhibit harmful behaviors, or act out in damaging ways. Without being able to communicate with your pet to discover what is wrong, it can cause owners confusion as to why their pet is acting the way they are, destroying furniture or items or defecating and urinating in the house.
Knowing what to do if your dog has separation anxiety can make both you and your pet happier. But what should you do if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety?
What Does Separation Anxiety Look Like?
The behaviors associated with separation anxiety are often associated with feelings of nervousness and unease. Those behaviors can include things like whining, pacing, barking, chewing, and digging. It might also appear in behaviors such as defecating, urinating, or hyperactivity.
In some situations, owners may think this kind of behavior is their dog’s way of “getting back” at the owner for leaving them alone or taking them away from their brothers and sisters. Instead, these kinds of behaviors should be viewed as reactions to the dog panicking in your absence or the absence of another pet companion they are used to having around.
Because these behaviors typically happen when your pet is left alone, it can be difficult to see their behaviors as they are happening. Be sure to check for damage left behind from chewing, scratching, or digging, or pay attention to times when your pet leaves behind urine or feces.
What Dogs Experience Separation Anxiety?
Although puppies may experience separation anxiety more frequently because they are less used to being left alone or may still be adjusting to being away from their mother or brothers and sisters, dogs of any age can exhibit behaviors associated with separation anxiety.
There are certain kinds of dogs that are more susceptible to developing separation anxiety than other dogs, although any breed can exhibit the behaviors. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Airedales, Spring Spaniels, and Weimaraners are all breeds that suffer from separation anxiety more frequently.
If your dog has experienced abuse in the past, they may be more likely to show signs of separation anxiety. The likelihood that your dog will experience separation anxiety increases exponentially if they have been abandoned in the past.
What to Do if Your Dog is Showing Signs of Separation Anxiety?
If you think your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, the first thing you should do is visit your vet for advice. While these symptoms are most commonly signs of separation anxiety, they could also be signs of more serious conditions that require medical attention. Having your vet examine your dog and the symptoms that are surfacing can ensure the correct condition is being treated.
Once you and your vet have determined that it is signs of separation anxiety, you can begin to discuss possible forms of treatment. Most forms of separation anxiety can be treated with medication or training. There are also body-wraps that can be used for your animal that comforts them and allows them to remain calm.
Medications for separation anxiety are often long term medications that allow your dog to remain calm when they are left alone. At first, your dog may be prescribed to a medication that works immediately, such as alprazolam.
If your dog is having trouble with separation anxiety, don’t leave them to deal with the panic attacks and worry on their own. While they may eventually overcome the condition without the help of a vet, medications, or additional training, but it can be a struggle that might not ever be fixed. You will probably find that your furniture, house, carpet, and belongings might be damaged in the process.
Start examining your dog’s behaviors when you are away and consider what changes may have occurred recently. Are they not used to being left alone? Has a member of the family recently left the house? Have they just been moved away from their mother, brother, or sisters? If so, your dog may have separation anxiety.
Discuss the behaviors and symptoms with your vet to determine the best way to help your dog overcome the stress and get back to living a healthy, happy life.