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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Have you ever come home to find that your dog did something destructive while you were away? If so, your beloved pet may be suffering from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is quite common in our furry friends, but the signs of it are often mistaken for bad doggy manners. Read on as a local Newmarket, ON veterinarian talks about canine separation anxiety.

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a term that is used to describe feelings of uneasiness dogs sometimes have when left by themselves. In the wild, dogs are pack animals, and are rarely ever alone. Fido’s brain is hard-wired with a pack mentality, which can make it tough for him to be left alone. As a result, your canine buddy may feel anxious, sad, or depressed when separated from his human buddies, whom he thinks of as his pack.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

If Fido is suffering from separation anxiety, he may chew your belongings or dig holes in the yard to show his distress. He may also destroy cushions, pillows, or other items. Dogs with separation anxiety often bark, pace, whine, or howl when left alone. Sometimes they will engage in pica, which means eating things that are not food. Your furry pal may even try to escape!

Treating Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be treated, though there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The method that will best help your pup deal with his fears will depend very much on how severe his anxiety is, so you’ll want to consult a professional. That said, there are a few general do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. You’ll want to avoid long, drawn-out greetings or farewells, as these can actually reinforce your dog’s behavior. You should also never punish your pooch for misbehaving in your absence, as this could backfire, and make him even more uneasy. Focus on rewarding your pet for being good. It’s also important to make sure Fido is getting plenty of exercise, and has lots of fun toys to play with when he’s home alone. If your four-legged buddy is prone to escape attempts, he could hurt himself, so you may want to puppyproof a specific room, and leave your canine pal there when you’re gone.

Do you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care? Call us, your Newmarket, ON animal clinic! We’re here to help!

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