What Causes Separation Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders are believed to have biological, family, and environmental factors that contribute to the cause. A chemical imbalance involving two chemicals in the brain most likely contributes to the cause of anxiety disorders. While a child or adolescent may have inherited a biological tendency to be anxious, anxiety and fear can also be learned from family members and others who frequently display increased anxiety around the child. A traumatic experience may also trigger anxiety. The manner in which a person copes with anxiety may make it worse or better over time.
Signs That Your Husky May Have Separation Anxiety
Theres a range of signs that you may be witnessing on a daily basis that indicates separation anxiety, and you just arent aware of them yet.I wont include what Ive already spoken about above. Below are some less obvious signs that you may see throughout the day.
- Following the owners around the house constantly throughout the day.
- Your husky starts displaying erratic, nervous behavior when you grab your keys, put on your shoes or coat, anything you routinely do before leaving the house.
- Panting, drooling, or howling may start to happen as youre getting ready to leave the house.
- Refusing to drink or eat when left alone.
- Your husky exhibits self-destructive behavior like biting or chewing his own tail, legs, or paws.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Treatment for Moderate to Severe Separation AnxietyModerate or severe cases of separation anxiety require a more complex desensitization and counterconditioning program. In these cases, its crucial to gradually accustom a dog to being alone by starting with many short separations that do not produce anxiety and then gradually increasing the duration of the separations over many weeks of daily sessions.
The following steps briefly describe a desensitization and counterconditioning program. Please keep in mind that this is a short, general explanation.
Step One: Predeparture CuesAs mentioned above, some dogs begin to feel anxious while their guardians get ready to leave. For example, a dog might start to pace, pant and whine when he notices his guardian applying makeup, putting on shoes and a coat, and then picking up a bag or car keys. Guardians of dogs who become upset during predeparture rituals are unable to leaveeven for just few secondswithout triggering their dogs extreme anxiety. Your dog may see telltale cues that youre leaving and get so anxious about being left alone that he cant control himself and forgets that youll come back.
Medications Might HelpAlways consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your dog any type of medication for a behavior problem.
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How Do I Know If My Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Because there are many reasons for the behaviors associated with separation anxiety, its essential to correctly diagnose the reason for the behavior before proceeding with treatment. If most, or all, of the following statements are true about your dog, he may have a separation anxiety problem:
- The behavior occurs exclusively or primarily when hes left alone.
- The behavior always occurs when hes left alone, whether for a short or long period of time.
- He follows you from room to room whenever youre home.
- He reacts with excitement, depression or anxiety to your preparations to leave the house.
- He displays effusive, frantic greeting behaviors.
- He dislikes spending time outdoors by himself.
Management Of The Environment
There are quite a few ways you can modify your cats environment to help relieve your cats separation anxiety.
Here are some examples of changes you can make to manage the environment.
Provide Enrichment Activities
There are endless options for enrichment activities to keep your cat busy while you are gone. There are TV shows designed specifically for cats and even cameras that allow you to toss treats to your cat and talk to them when you are not home.
You can also try puzzle feeders, which are toys that your cat has to play with to release the food inside. Giving one to your cat before you start getting ready to leave can keep them busy so they arent worried about what you are doing.
Working for their food is wonderful enrichment for cats.
Ignore Attention-Seeking Behaviors
Try to ignore attention-seeking behaviors whenever possible. Instead, provide attention when your cat is calm and shows signs of independence.
For example, you can praise or toss a small treat to your cat when they are resting in another room or when they stop meowing for attention.
Remain calm when you leave your house and return home. Wait until your cat is calm and quiet to give them attention after you get home.
Giving your cat activities to keep them busy and engaged as you get ready to leave and while you are gone can be very helpful. Some cats also experience a calming effect from pheromone products, such as plug-in diffusers or collars.
Create and Maintain a Consistent Routine
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S To Avoid For Separation Anxiety In Cats
There are many suggestions out there for how to help separation anxiety in cats, but not all of them are accurate. Some of the most common management suggestions you might find are getting an additional cat, punishment, and confinement.
Heres why you should not use these responses if your cat is suffering from separation anxiety.
What Are The Risk Factors
Those who suffer with clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder are more likely to experience separation anxiety as an adult. Furthermore, those with separation anxiety often have other coexisting conditions such as social anxiety, social phobias, panic disorder, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder , personality disorders, and generalised anxiety disorder.
It has also been found that being female, experiencing childhood adversity , or having a history of childhood traumatic events , increases your risk for adult separation anxiety. You may also be more likely to develop separation anxiety as an adult if you experienced it as a child.
Sometimes, a significant life change, such as a divorce, death, or even the recent coronavirus pandemic, can cause the development of adult separation anxiety.
However, it is important to remember that a person could have all of these risk factors and still not develop separation anxiety. Equally, a person can have none of these risk factors, but experience separation anxiety. These risk factors are a guide, but not a prediction.
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Do I Have Separation Anxiety
Over the last few months, many of us who have shared our home with someone our partner, our parents, our kids, or our housemates are likely to have been connected at the hip, always being no more than a few rooms away from our loved ones. But what happens now that some people are starting to go back to work?
Learn The Triggers And Train Against Them
An interesting point brought up by my friend was how her husky started getting nervous when he knew she was about to leave. He has associated the sound of her keys with her leaving. This was a trigger. And this trigger for the anxiety ended being an issue just as much as being alone was. Its likely that your husky has understood your own routine so think about how this could apply to you. Putting on your jacket, shoes, locking the back door. Any of these events could be a trigger.Its now important to train against the triggers. This is fairly simple, but its important to do it consistently. If its your keys, start picking up your keys and putting them down again. Or pick them up and put them in your pocket, sit down to watch Tv, or make a fuss of your husky. Start teaching your husky that these triggers do not always mean youre about to leave.
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What Wont Help A Separation Anxiety Problem
- Punishment is not an effective way to treat separation anxiety. In fact, if you punish your dog after you return home it may actually increase his separation anxiety.
- Getting another pet. This usually doesnt help an anxious dog as his anxiety is the result of his separation from you, his person, not merely the result of being alone.
- Crating your dog. Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses in the crate. He may urinate, defecate, howl or even injure himself in an attempt to escape from the crate.
- Leave the radio on .
- Obedience school. While obedience training is always a good idea, it wont directly help a separation anxiety problem. Separation anxiety is not the result of disobedience or lack of training, its a panic response.
While Every Cat Has A Different Personality The General Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Felines Are:
As veterinarians and pet owners, we know that some of these things can be frustrating, particularly the elimination outside the litter box. Many cat owners have gotten the gift of defecation on the bed, in a shoe, or on an item of clothing. Its important to remember that this isnt necessarily a sign of spiteful behavior but can often mean that your cat is looking to mix their scent with yours. Cats believe they are also helping you find your way home. Instincts run deep!
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Punishing Your Labrador For Issues Of Separation Anxiety
You generally talk to your friends or watch a movie or listen to music when you are fully stressed. But what about your Dog? Who else does he have to share his stress? Its just you. The destructive behaviour during separation anxiety is his way of expressing his stress. Punishing your dog for destroying things and for other forms of weird behaviour can make the Dog more stressed. Increasing stress is not at all a solution for your stressed Dog. Any form of serious punishment can be very painful for your Dog.
Your dog has a short-term memory. Suppose your dog has destroyed the furniture in the afternoon, you came home from the office in the evening. Punishing your dog at that time is not useful, as your dog cannot relate the punishment given to the destruction it has done in the afternoon.
Patience is the Key. Every dog is different and every dog takes its own time to get rid of separation anxiety. If you can train your dog properly there are fewer chances that your Dog suffers from anxiety.
Be patient in understanding and handling your dog and you can stay happy with your doggy friend forever that does not overreact when you go out.
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Symptoms Of Adult Separation Anxiety
In the discussion of adult separation anxiety, again, due to lack of concrete diagnostic criteria, many look to the symptoms of separation anxiety in children as a way to gain understanding. In children, symptoms of separation anxiety include:
- Distress when attached to a specific figure or figures.
- Excessive worry about losing these figures.
- Anxious, “worst case scenario” thinking about separation.
- Trouble sleeping when away from a specific person.
- Physical complaints when separation appears imminent.
One might also add the belief that the person cannot live without another person, or that their quality of life will suffer dramatically.
Because adult brains are far more developed than the brains of children, it is likely adult separation anxiety will reveal itself in different ways. Nevertheless, severe distress at the thought of being without someone is very probable to be a central sign of ASA, and some variation of the above list would likely fit into any diagnostic criteria.
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Easing Separation Anxiety Disorder: Tips For School
For children with separation anxiety disorder, attending school can seem overwhelming and a refusal to go is commonplace. But by addressing any root causes for your childs avoidance of school and by making changes at school, though, you can help reduce your childs symptoms.
Help a child who has been absent from school return as quickly as possible. Even if a shorter school day is necessary initially, childrens symptoms are more likely to decrease when they discover that they can survive the separation.
Ask the school to accommodate your childs late arrival. If the school can be lenient about late arrival at first, it can give you and your child a little wiggle room to talk and separate at your childs slower pace.
Identify a safe place. Find a place at school where your child can go to reduce anxiety during stressful periods. Develop guidelines for appropriate use of the safe place.
Allow your child contact with home. At times of stress at school, a brief phone calla minute or twowith family may reduce separation anxiety.
Send notes for your child to read. You can place a note for your child in their lunch box or locker. A quick I love you! on a napkin can reassure a child.
Provide assistance to your child during interactions with peers. An adults help, whether it is from a teacher or counselor, may be beneficial for both your child and the other children theyre interacting with.
Deterrence And Patient Education
Parental education is essential for ensuring the successful treatment of children diagnosed with SAD. Parents benefit from learning the proper way of interacting with their children. Some parents may also benefit from managing their own anxiety or mental health issues that contribute to their childs psychopathology. Parents and caregivers should be educated regarding the expected treatment duration, length of effect onset, and adverse effects of psychopharmacological treatment, especially the risk of increased suicidal ideation following initiation of SSRIs. Finally, parents should be heavily involved in CBT and be educated regarding the principles of positive and negative reinforcement patterns so that behavioral improvement can continue at home.
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How Is Separation Anxiety Disorder Treated
Treatment for separation anxiety disorder usually involvescognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. This is a treatment that helps children learn to understand and manage their fears. Exposure therapy, a specialized form of CBT, might also be used. Exposure therapy works by carefully exposing children to separation in small doses. This can help them feel less anxious over time.
When therapy is not enough, a child may be given medicine to lessen their symptoms and help make therapy more effective. The most common drug to treat separation anxiety disorder is an antidepressant medication called an SSRI. Occasionally anti-anxiety medications are used but they can be habit-forming.
Other Considerations To Help Reduce Separation Anxiety
- Ensure your husky receives plenty of intensive exercise every day. A tired husky is a calmer husky.
- Undergo crate training and keep your husky inside a crate when you leave .
- Get a quality interactive toy for your husky to play with while you are gone.
- Leave the TV or Radio on for background noise.
- Try keeping your husky in a room away from outside noises and smells.
- Try using calming scents in your home. Vanilla, valerian, coconut, and ginger scents have now been found to calm and relax dogs. .
- Visit your veterinarian for extra help.
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