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HomeHealthWhat Does Separation Anxiety Mean

What Does Separation Anxiety Mean

Complementary And Alternative Therapies

What is Separation Anxiety? Fear of Abandonment?

Complementary and Alternative Therapies can be used in conjunction with conventional therapies to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. There is a growing interest in these types of alternative therapies since they are non-invasive and can be useful to patients. They are typically not intended to replace conventional therapies but rather can be an adjunct therapy that can improve the overall quality of life of patients.

Stress Management

A collection of activities focused in which an individual consciously produces the relaxation response in their body. This response consists of slower breathing, resulting in lower blood pressure and overall feeling of well-being. These activities include: progressive relaxation, guided imagery, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis and deep-breathing exercises.


A mind and body practice in which individuals are instructed to be mindful of thoughts, feelings and sensations in non-judgmental way. It has been shown to be useful in reducing the symptoms of psychological stress in patients with anxiety.


A mindfulness practice that combines meditation, physical postures, breathing exercises and a distinct philosophy. It has been shown to be useful in reducing some symptoms of anxiety and depression.

What Is Separation Distress

, or , means the pet experiences a feeling of anxiety or even panic when they are separated from preferred people. The signs most commonly associated with this disorder include vocalizing, salivation, destructive behavior especially at exits like doors and windows, urination or defecation indoors/in unwanted locations, lack of appetite when alone, self-trauma like licking or chewing when alone, and attempted or successful escapes.

In severe cases, pets may even break through fences or windows, chew through walls or doors, and engage in other dangerous behavior when they are feeling panic. Often, the signs of anxiety such as pacing, panting, jumping up on the owner or attention-seeking, avoiding confinement areas, or trying to escape begin when the owner first starts preparing to leave home .

If your pet is showing the signs listed here, tell your veterinary team right away. A doctors diagnosis is needed to confirm separation distress or separation anxiety disorder. The good news is, there is a lot we can do to help prevent separation distress, and to treat it if it occurs.

Boredom: The Cats Enemy

It might not be so much that your cat hates being alone, but they hate being bored. So find things to keep them entertained while youre gone.

Keep the curtains of a window open so they can see outside. Hide small pieces of food around the house that they can hunt. Or buy them a puzzle toy that drops treats while they play with it. This last suggestion gives an added bonus of rewarding them while youre gone, so theyll learn to make positive associations with being alone.

If your cat is just very social, you might consider adopting a second cat to keep them company.

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Help Your Child By Relieving Your Own Stress

Kids with anxious or stressed parents may be more prone to separation anxiety. In order to help your child ease their anxiety symptoms, you may need to take measures to become calmer and more centered yourself.

Talk about your feelings. Expressing what youre going through can be very cathartic, even if theres nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.

Exercise regularly.Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress.

Eat right. A well-nourished body is better prepared to cope with stress, so eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats, and try to avoid junk food, sugary snacks, and refined carbohydrates.

Practice relaxation. You can control your stress levels with relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, or meditation.

Get enough sleep. Feeling tired only increases your stress, causing you to think irrationally or foggily, while sleeping well directly improves your mood and the quality of your waking life.

Keep your sense of humor. As well as boosting your outlook, the act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a variety of ways.

What Should You Be Taking Into Consideration When Choosing Puppy Food

Dealing With Separation Anxiety : GEMS

In general, make sure you’re feeding them puppy food it’s on the label. Sometimes food companies have small breed puppy food vs. large breed puppy food, choose the one that applies. How they get the “puppy food” label is that there are certain formulations of certain nutrients to help them with their growth. Calcium to phosphorous ratios is a big one, so that’s one of the examples. They’re basically just formulated so your dog will grow appropriately. I really like Royal Canin’s puppy food, that’s probably my most recommended I’ve seen dogs do really well on that and heard really good results from owners. Any company can be good, just make sure it’s puppy food.

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Types Of Care Providers

There are a number of different types of licensed mental health providers that can treat the range of anxiety and other related disorders.

Primary Care Physician

Many patients first report symptoms to their primary care physician. Primary care physicians will administer a thorough physical exam to rule out hormonal imbalances, side effects of medications, and certain illnesses. If the symptoms are not due to other conditions, the physician may diagnose the patient with anxiety and therefore refer the patient to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Physicians practice in hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

Clinical Psychologist

A licensed mental health specialist with a doctorate in clinical psychology who treats emotional, mental, and behavioral problems. Clinical psychologists are trained to provide counseling and psychotherapy, perform psychological testing, and provide treatment for mental disorders. They generally do not prescribe medications however, Illinois, Louisiana, and New Mexico are the only states that allow psychologists to prescribe. It is common for clinical psychologists to work in conjunction with a psychiatrist and /or a PCP who provides the medical treatment for the patients while the psychologists provide the psychotherapy. Clinical psychologists can be found at hospitals, schools, counseling centers, and group or private health care practices.


Psychiatric Nurse

Clinical Social Worker

How Can I Tell If My Child Has Separation Anxiety Disorder

All kids experience some separation anxiety. For infants and toddlers it is a normal stage of development which is connected to developing an attachment to parents and other caregivers. In older children, certain separation fears and worries are typical for their age. For example, lets say your child is starting his first day of kindergarten. He is likely to show some anxiety and discomfort when getting up and ready for school and going into the school for the first time. He may even cry when he comes home and say he wants to stay home and not return to school. If this period of anxiety is minor , lasts only a few days, and is replaced by a return to his normal mood and activities, this is probably normal separation anxiety. However, if your child remains significantly distressed about being away from you during the school day , this may be separation anxiety disorder.

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What Is The Difference Between Separation Anxiety Disorder In Children And In Adults

While anxiety disorders such as SAD cannot be prevented altogether, seeking treatment as soon as you notice that your child has a problem can reduce the severity of the problem and improve your childs quality of life. Some other tips include:

  • Stay calm in front of your child, as she often looks to you for how to react in new and uncertain situations.
  • Avoid providing an excessive amount of reassurance since this may signal more, not less, to worry about.
  • Teach your child how to problem solve, cope, and reassure herself.
  • Limit the avoidance of activities. Though avoidance may temporarily reduce distress, it will allow the anxiety to grow and make things more difficult for your child in the future.
  • Provide support and praise for small victories in separation rather than consequences for the difficulties, since consequences tend to increase anxiety.

Where To Find Treatment

Separation Anxiety: Everything You Need to Know

Most treatment providers for anxiety-related disorders can be found in hospitals, clinics, private or group practices. Some also operate in schools . There is also the growing field of telehealth in which mental health workers provide their services through an internet video service, streaming media, video conferencing, or wireless communication. Telehealth is particularly useful for patients that live in remote rural locations that are far from institutions that provide mental health services. Mental health providers that work in telehealth can only provide services to patients currently located in the state in which the provider is licensed.

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Why Is My Dog Always Getting Ear Infections

Ear infections are really common, especially in dogs that are prone to allergies. I think the main breeds are labs, cocker spaniels, basset hounds, or anything with longer ears that will trap all the bacteria in there. Sometimes they can get ear infections because of an underlying allergy, so if they’re potentially allergic to something in the air or in their food, that can precipitate them getting ear infections, the same way it would a skin infection.

Potentially, trying a food trial with a new type of food that’s for allergies will sometimes limit that. Also always making sure any time you give them a bath or they come into contact with water, getting them an ear cleaner that has a drying component in it. A lot of the times it’s after being groomed. Always clean their ears out after they come into contact with water. If your dog is predisposed to getting them, try and clean their ears once a week in general. I would Google or YouTube “how to clean your dog’s ears.”

A lot of times when they’re having bad ear infections and you can smell it or when you lift up their ears it’s red and there are tons of discharge, there’s not a lot you can do at home. You need to get drops from your vet or even oral antibiotics â a steroid injection even. What you can do at home is really preventative, if it gets worse, see your vet.

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.

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Anxiety Disorders: An Overview

Sanne van Rooij, PhD, and Anaïs Stenson, PhD

In an anxiety-related disorder, your fear or worry does not go away and can get worse over time. It can influence your life to the extent that it can interfere with daily activities like school, work and/or relationships. Fear, stress, and anxiety are “normal feelings and experiences” but they are completely different than suffering from any of the seven diagnosable disorders plus substance-induced anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and trauma- or stressor-related disorders.

Anxiety disorders keep people from sleeping, concentrating, talking to others, or even leaving their home. Anxiety that may need treatment is often irrational, overwhelming, and disproportionate to the situation. It makes sufferers feel as though they have no control over their feelings, and it can involve severe physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, or trembling. It becomes classified as a disorder when normal anxiety becomes irrational and begins to recur and interfere with daily life.

But, as an example, what if someone will not leave their home for extended periods of time because they are afraid of being in a crowd or being reminded of a past traumatic event. That is not a “normal feeling or experience.”

If you think you might be struggling with an anxiety disorder, you’re not alone:

Should Dogs Be Eating A Grain


Yes, yes, yes feed your dog grain! That may be anti what you would think, again, it’s the advertising world taking over, making you think your dog evolved from a wolf so they wouldn’t eat grain in the real world. But dogs have evolved, just like we’ve evolved, and they’ve developed GI systems that can handle grain and they do perfectly fine on it. They’ve actually come out with a study recently and they’ve associated these grain-free diets with a cardiac disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

Dobermans and golden retrievers are the main dogs that would normally get this disease, it’s a genetic disease. But, recently, they’ve seen an increase in this disease in dogs and they’ve started looking into it as it was appearing in breeds that normally don’t have it. So the FDA started looking into it and they’ve found these grain-free diets are directly related to it. So the grains have been giving our dogs different balances of amino acids and by taking the grain out, you’re missing some of those now in the diet. They think it’s a lack of taurine.

Certain dogs are allergic to grains and that’s one thing, but for the most part, the main allergies we see in dogs are to protein, not to the grain. So just be careful. And if you’re super anti-grain, make sure you’re using a company that is aware of the study and is adding the taurine back into it.

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Strategies If Your Partner Is Anxiously Attached

If you are in a relationship with someone who has attachment anxiety, there are things that you can do to help. Some strategies that can help your partner feel more secure include:

  • Not minimizing their feelings and providing reassurance
  • Helping your partner become more aware of how their attachment anxiety affects your relationship
  • Being consistent and sticking to your promises and commitments
  • Showing that you care and offering assurance on a regular basis
  • Encouraging your partner to seek help
  • Attending couples therapy together

We Asked A Vet About Separation Anxiety Raw Food Hype & More

PawpApr 20, 2020â29 min read

In our weekly Ask A Vet series, Pawp interviews Dr. Laura Robinson on Instagram Live about separation anxiety, puppy diets, raw food hype, and more. The questions we asked came from the Facebook group Pets Health In Quarantine. If youâd like a vet to answer your questions, join the group and post. This interview has been transcribed and edited for length and clarity.

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Other Behavior Problems To Rule Out

Sometimes its difficult to determine whether a dog has separation anxiety or not. Some common behavior problems can cause similar symptoms. Before concluding that your dog has separation anxiety, its important to rule out the following behavior problems:

Submissive or Excitement UrinationSome dogs may urinate during greetings, play, physical contact or when being reprimanded or punished. Such dogs tend to display submissive postures during interactions, such as holding the tail low, flattening the ears back against the head, crouching or rolling over and exposing the belly.

Incomplete House TrainingA dog who occasionally urinates in the house might not be completely house trained. His house training might have been inconsistent or it might have involved punishment that made him afraid to eliminate while his owner is watching or nearby.

Urine MarkingSome dogs urinate in the house because theyre scent marking. A dog scent marks by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces. Most male dogs and some female dogs who scent mark raise a leg to urinate.

Juvenile DestructionMany young dogs engage in destructive chewing or digging while their guardians are home as well as when theyre away. Please see our articles, Destructive Chewing, for more information about these problems.

BoredomDogs need mental stimulation, and some dogs can be disruptive when left alone because theyre bored and looking for something to do. These dogs usually dont appear anxious.

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