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Separation Anxiety Solutions Part 1

 by zack on 01 Dec 2012 |
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The whole world may not revolve around you, but you are definitely the center of your pet’s universe. You provide the food, toys, massages, and affection that keeps them either purring or panting as the case may be. So when you leave the house, even for a short period of time, their reactions can seem severe. This Separation anxiety is a common problem with dogs, and an occasional one with cats. Its symptoms aren’t extremely obvious, and it can take a keen eye to pick up on anything amiss. Here are a few things to look out for, and some possible solutions to the problem.

What’s the Deal with Dogs?

Dogs are much more dependent on human interaction than cats. Because of this, separation anxiety can really strike a familiar chord for many dog owners. To make matters even more complex, symptoms of separation anxiety can easily be confused with a little overzealous behavior. Be on the lookout for one or all of the following symptoms:
  • A dog shadow-dogs love to be underfoot, but when they can’t stand to be apart from you when you get up to leave the room, you might have a problem.
  • Stressed behavior such as whining or relentless pacing while you’re preparing to leave.
  • Barking, scratching, and whimpering at the door after you’ve made your exit.
  • Accidents happen, but when the indoor pee/poop problem persists, something has to be done.
  • Wanton destruction of carpet, plants, or furniture.
  • If you notice trembling upon your return.

Remember not to be a hypochondriac for your dog. This behavior when isolated and inconsistent isn’t necessarily grounds for alarm. Be wary when the pet’s actions become extreme and continuous.

What to do?

Some easy solutions for separation anxiety in dogs are as follows:
  • Exercise- they can’t freak out if they’re too tired!
  • Strategic meal times- food makes pets drowsy too.
  • Different toys-Dogs get bored just like humans; keep them entertained with an abundance of chewies.
  • Freezing food inside of a toy- This can keep them busy for quite a while!
  • Teach the dog to sit and stay- If a dog learns that it can serenely stay in a room without you, you’ve won half the battle.

If this all fails, you may want to consider asking your vet about anti-anxiety medication for pets. There’s a large variety of products available. You can also do a lot by creating a “safe place” that your dog goes to every time you leave. This place should include some dirty laundry that smells like you, some favorite toys, and a view of the outside to distract the dog. Or consider leaving your dog with a doggy daycare service, friend, or family member whenever you’ll be gone for a significant period of time.

If you have a really persistent problem with your dog’s separation anxiety, then you’ll definitely have to consult your vet for further advice. That’s all the time we have for today’s post, but check back tomorrow, where we’ll cover the symptoms and solutions to a cat’s separation anxiety.

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