Pinpointing A Treatment Plan
There are many options for treating canine separation anxiety, Pachel said. We could focus on management by not leaving the animal alone for longer than they can comfortably handle, he suggested. We may also try to pinpoint exercise needs to make sure the animal is being set up to succeed by getting enough activity before we expect it to hang out on the couch for a while.
Skill-building tools can also be used to bolster confidence and teach dogs to be less dependent on their owners and less concerned about departure cues and being alone. Even with a plan based on management strategies and training, Pachel encouraged attendees to consider supplementing with situational or maintenance medications to round out the treatment protocol if the animal is likely to experience any level of stress during the treatment process.
Natural Treatments For Dog Anxiety
Before turning to dog anxiety medication, there are some natural supplements your veterinarian may recommend. Multiple products are available on the market to help reduce our pets anxiety for both situational events and long-term needs, says Dr. Burch. She recommends looking for products containing:
Dr. Burch says it may take up to six weeks to see the full effects of these supplements.
Resources And Products To Help With Separation Anxiety
There are tons of great resources and products to arm yourself with when taking on separation anxiety. Interactive toys like Kongs, snuffle mats, or food puzzles can keep your dog engaged for a while. Calming aids like treats with L-Theanine and melatonin or weighted blankets can also help.
When in doubt, look to resources like the American Kennel Club, the ASPCA, and the Humane Society for trustworthy information. And be aware that while these suggestions may help, they shouldn’t be substituted for actual training or advice.
Featured Video For YouMove over, Boston Dynamics. You can build your own tiny robo-dog now.
UPDATE: Mar. 1, 2022, 12:00 p.m. EST This story has been updated to add additional context from Dodman and to reflect Carly Loyer’s complete title. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the ASPCA’s statistic 23 million dogs and cats, not just dogs, were acquired during the pandemic. This story has also been updated to correctly spell Nicholas Dodman’s name.
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How Do You Help A Dog With Separation Anxiety
It can be mentally and physically stressful for a dog when their owner leaves them home alone.
Dogs who have separation anxiety may act out because of their instinct, not necessarily out of bad behavior.
Punishing a dog for acting out will not do any good.
Training Tip: If your dog has separation anxiety, most of the destruction will occur in the first 30 minutes of your departure.
Fixing Separation Anxiety One Step At A Time
Effective treatment of separation anxiety can feel overwhelming. Its a slow process made more difficult by the fact that sometimes progress comes at a literal pace of one second at a time.
Guiding your dog through a separation anxiety protocol might not be easy, but having not only gone through this process with many clients but also with my own beloved dog, I can honestly say there is hope and recovery is completely possible! Flores says.
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Why Do Some Dogs Develop Separation Anxiety
There is no conclusive evidence showing exactly why dogs develop separation anxiety. However, because far more dogs who have been adopted from shelters have this behavior problem than those kept by a single family since puppyhood, it is believed that loss of an important person or group of people in a dogs life can lead to separation anxiety. Other less dramatic changes can also trigger the disorder. The following is a list of situations that have been associated with development of separation anxiety.
Change of Guardian or FamilyBeing abandoned, surrendered to a shelter or given to a new guardian or family can trigger the development of separation anxiety.
Change in ScheduleAn abrupt change in schedule in terms of when or how long a dog is left alone can trigger the development of separation anxiety. For example, if a dogs guardian works from home and spends all day with his dog but then gets a new job that requires him to leave his dog alone for six or more hours at a time, the dog might develop separation anxiety because of that change.
Change in ResidenceMoving to a new residence can trigger the development of separation anxiety.
Change in Household MembershipThe sudden absence of a resident family member, either due to death or moving away, can trigger the development of separation anxiety.
Seeking The Help Of A Professional
If our treatment advice hasn’t eased the separation-related behaviour, talk to a vet who knows you and your dog. They should then refer you to a clinical animal behaviourist. They’ll help you identify the underlying cause of the problem and develop a treatment plan that works for your dog as well as you.
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Recovery And Management Of Separation Anxiety In Dogs
Managing separation anxiety requires patience. Your veterinarian will help you come up with a treatment plan and training regimen, but there are some things you can do in the meantime to alleviate some of your dogs stress. Frequent exercise, for example, can help tire your dog out and stimulate her physically and mentally prior to time spent alone. Training, exercise, and play sessions not only eliminate boredom, but they also help you build stronger bonds with your dog, and can help build your dogs confidence. Slow feeding bowls or toys can also provide your dog with a tasty distraction while you are gone. This can be especially helpful if you are only leaving the house for short periods, as it can reinforce positive experiences with solitude.
Many owners accidentally reinforce negative behaviors. Staying calm when leaving the house will help your dog remain calm, and it is equally important to remain calm when you return. While it may be hard to ignore your dogs exuberant greeting, feeding into it can heighten your dogs anxiety around arrivals and departures.
Some high-energy dogs may require more stimulation than others. Doggy daycares can help tire these dogs out while also reducing the stress that separation anxiety places on owners. Getting involved in dog sports or activities can also stimulate these dogs and reduce boredom-induced destructive behaviors.
Gender May Play A Role In Canine Anxiety
Just like in humans, female dogs seem to have higher rates of anxiety, or at least show more of the physical signs. A study showing the connection between anxiety and premature muzzle graying found that female dogs are significantly more likely than male dogs to go gray by age four. However, another study found that separation anxiety is more common in male dogs.
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Cbd Treats Or Cbd Oil
A growing number of pet parents swear by pet-safe cannabis-derived treats. Because CBD doesnt have THC in it, it wont get dogs highbut evidence suggests it may calm them down. It works best for situational anxiety, since youll typically need to offer it to your dog an hour or so before you want to see the effects. You can buy CBD treats or CBD oil made just for pets. Whichever route you take, remember to check in with your vet to ensure its okay for your particular pups system.
What If I Dont Think I Can Keep My Dog Any Longer
We know that sometimes peoples circumstances change. Giving up your dog is a really difficult decision and it can help to speak to someone about it. If you can no longer look after your pet, our Rehoming Team is always happy to talk to you about your circumstances. Contact your nearest Blue Cross centre to talk to one of the team or find out more about giving up a pet.
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How To Help A Dog With Anxiety
If your dog seems to worry when you’re heading out, destroys stuff when you leave the house, follows you from room to room when you’re home, goes berserk when you come back and seems to be eyeing you suspiciously even before you leaveyou may be dealing with a case of separation anxiety.
Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit distress and behavior problems when they’re left alone. Some of the most common ways they do this:
- Digging and scratching at doors or windows attempting to reunite with their owners
- Destructive chewing
- Urination and defecation
Medical Problems To Rule Out First
Incontinence Caused by Medical ProblemsSome dogs house soiling is caused by incontinence, a medical condition in which a dog leaks or voids his bladder. Dogs with incontinence problems often seem unaware that theyve soiled. Sometimes they void urine while asleep. A number of medical issuesincluding a urinary tract infection, a weak sphincter caused by old age, hormone-related problems after spay surgery, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, Cushings disease, neurological problems and abnormalities of the genitaliacan cause urinary incontinence in dogs. Before attempting behavior modification for separation anxiety, please see your dogs veterinarian to rule out medical issues.
MedicationsThere are a number of medications that can cause frequent urination and house soiling. If your dog takes any medications, please contact his veterinarian to find out whether or not they might contribute to his house-soiling problems.
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Dog Separation Anxiety Medication Over The Counter
Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety? Are you so apprehensive about your dogs behavioral issues? So, dont panic. Just calm yourself and read out the whole article, Dog Separation Anxiety Medication Over the Counter. Wasting no time, let us start.
If you have witnessed the signs and symptoms of separation anxiety, then go for a vets consultation as well as over-the-counter medication.
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Leave Your Dog With A Good Audiobook
Studies have now shown that audiobooks can have a calming effect on dogs and help to lessen their separation anxiety. The sound of a human voice can help reduce their stress while youre not at home.
Do you have a success story about getting your dog through separation anxiety? Share the wisdom. Tell us how you did it in the comments.
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What Are The Signs Of Anxiety In Dogs
Dogs cant tell their owners in words if they are feeling stressed and anxious, but there are some signs to watch for in the form of troubling or even aggressive behaviors. According to Michelle Burch, DVM, from Safe Hounds Pet Insurance, some of these behaviors may include:
- Excessive barking, howling, or whining
- Trying to hide or escape
- Destructive behavior
These behaviors are normal under some circumstances but can be clues as to how a dog is feeling. Signs of anxiety can range depending on the severity from mild to severe, Dr. Burch says. Anxiety and fear can also change depending on the situation.
Is Drug Therapy Useful
Drug therapy can be useful especially during initial departure training. Tranquilizers alone do not reduce a dog’s anxiety and may only be helpful to sedate your dog so that he is less likely to investigate and destroy. Most dogs do best with either fluoxetine or clomipramine over several months, perhaps combined with other antianxiety drugs where necessary.
“Retraining program that is needed to help your dog gain some independence and accept some time away from you.”
Although drugs may be important in reducing underlying anxiety and helping your dog cope, it is the retraining program that is needed to help your dog gain some independence and accept some time away from you. Pheromone therapy can also be useful for diminishing anxiety both while you are home and when you are away. Recently new medications have been approved for the treatment of separation anxiety in dogs. Contact your veterinarian to discuss if medication is appropriate for your pet.
|Contributors: Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB & Gary Landsberg, DVM, DACVB, DECAWBMEdited by: VCA Inc. This article has been modified from its original text as supplied from LifeLearn and may not reflect any views of, or is certified to be accurate by, LifeLearn.|
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Track Progress With Journals And Videotapes
A baseline for panting, pacing, urination or defecation, whining or barking, and digging/chewingas well as their timing and intensityis needed to determine whether treatment is working.
- A video camera can be aimed at areas where elimination or destructiveness has occurred recording 30 to 60 minutes will provide a reasonable idea of the dogs distress immediately after departure.
- Audiotaping may be enough if barking is the primary complaint.
- Video- or audiotaping should be repeated as needed to monitor progress.
- A journal of the dogs behavior is also helpful and should include elimination behavior outdoors as well as when the owner leaves the house and returns.
How To Help With Dog Separation Anxiety
When it comes to helping your dog with separation anxiety, the first piece of advice is to start addressing the problem early so your pet has plenty of time to adapt. Whether you recently adopted a new dog or your longtime companion has simply grown accustomed to your pandemic routine, any change will be difficult unless you properly prepare them.
Also, remember that baby steps are best. If you can tell your training efforts are causing your pet even more stress, itâs okay to pause or take a step back so your pet has more time to adjust. The idea is that you are training your dog to be comfortable alone and that takes time.
Here are eight ways to help you treat your dog’s separation anxiety:
1. Positive reinforcement…with a twist
Set aside time each day to practice a departure and return routine with your dog. Not only does this help get your dog used to seeing you come and go, but itâs also a way to shift the focus from you to some other reward.
When you return, donât make it a special event. If youâre crate training, take your shoes off, have a drink of water, and then let your dog out of their crate. As hard as it may be, ignore your dog until they calm down and then reward them with some attention, a walk outside, or playtime with a special toy.
2. Crate training
3. Independence training
4. Exercise and entertainment
5. Interactive camera
6. Dog walker or doggy daycare
7. Flexible schedule
8. Calming supplements or medications
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Take Your Dog For Walks
Taking your dog for walks is a great way to help them ease their separation anxiety symptoms, as well as maintain a healthy weight and lower their blood pressure. Walking is not only good for your dogs health, but it can be a great way to bond with your pet as well. People are not the only ones who benefit from a regular exercise routine. Like humans, pets with an excess of energy can also become more anxious, so keeping your dogs energy levels managed with regular exercise is an important measure to take.
The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment
All dogs are different, but sudden changes in behaviour or arising attachment issues can all be signs of your dog needing support through stress relief for dogs. Whether you know theres a stressful time for your dog coming up, or your dog needs regular support, you can find ways to help their stress in our range of dog anxiety treatments. Which is the best treatment depends on your dog, some will respond well to simple distractions, others may need dog anxiety medications. We have a range of options of calming medication for dogs available to help your best friend.
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Unique In Every Way But One
It has been an absolute honor to have spent almost 20 years working with dog separation anxiety clients. I have learned so much and gained a tremendous understanding of the nuances of this condition. Every dog is a unique individual and presents something slightly different for me to discover and integrate into their training protocol. It is one of the things that makes this work so fascinating each case is so distinctive and as a result there is never a dull moment. There is one thing that is a constant with every single one of these dogs they are all experiencing a behavioral emergency. In this blog we will discuss treatment options more in depth, including dog separation anxiety medication.
What Are Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Dogs
There are many levels of severity of separation anxiety. On the less-severe end of the spectrum, a dog with separation anxiety might refuse to eat unless there are people around. At the extreme end, dogs with severe separation anxiety may destroy crates, chew at door frames, and even break windows to try and get out of the house to find their family.
Signs of separation anxiety in dogs vary but may include excessive vocalization, drooling, and house soiling when left alone. Sometimes, dogs will lick a particular spot on their body until they cause a wound. Anxious dogs may follow people from room to room when they are home, never wanting to be separated by even a few feet.
Dogs who have one type of anxiety, such as storm phobias, are more likely to be anxious in other stressful situations, including separation. Breeds whose job is to follow people around, like herding dogs, are more likely to develop separation anxiety than dogs bred for property protection or other solo work.
If your dogâs signs are severe or you are worried they might hurt themselves trying to escape, see your veterinarian right away. Some medical issues come with symptoms that can be easily confused with signs of separation anxiety, so it is best to get your veterinarian involved early to make sure you are treating the right thing.
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