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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Does your canine buddy sometimes make a mess when he is left alone? Does Fido bark, pace, or whine when you leave? If so, your furry best friend may be suffering from separation anxiety. A local Mt. Airy, MD vet discusses separation anxiety in this article.

Causes

It isn’t uncommon for dogs to feel lonely and isolated when they are left by themselves. This condition, officially known as separation anxiety, is rooted in the fact that Fido is a pack animal by nature. In the wild, our canine pals spend all their time with their packs. Your pet thinks of his human family as his pack, and can get quite distressed when separated from them.

Symptoms

The signs of separation anxiety are often mistaken for simple bad doggy behavior. Fido may express his angst in a variety of different ways. Whining, barking, and howling are not uncommon. This may be your pet’s way of trying to let you know where he is! Your furry buddy may also dig, chew, eat things, or defecate inappropriately. Some dogs will even try to escape. This can actually be dangerous, as your pooch could injure himself trying to get out.

Treatment

The good news is that separation anxiety can be managed. We recommend taking your dog for a long walk before you leave, and then wearing him out with a vigorous play session. If Fido is tired, he may spend a good chunk his alone time napping. It’s also important to make sure your canine companion has plenty of toys to occupy himself with while you’re out. Leaving a radio on can also help. The voices and music can soothe your furry friend, and keep him from feeling lonely.

What Not To Do

There are also some definite don’ts to keep in mind when dealing with separation anxiety. Never punish your furry pal for acting up in your absence. This may just leave Fido leaving confused or scared, especially after the fact. You also don’t want to go too far in the other direction, and coddle your pup. Drawn-out greetings and farewells may inadvertently reinforce your dog’s bad behavior. Instead, ignore your pooch when you leave and come home. If your four-legged buddy’s anxiety is severe, consult your vet or a professional pet behaviorist.

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? Contact us, your Mt. Airy, MD animal hospital, anytime!

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