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How to Address Separation Anxiety

Did you know that dogs can suffer from anxiety much like humans? It can be anxiety towards going to the vet, meeting new people or dogs, or when their owners leave the house. The last example of anxiety is called separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety can be displayed in various ways. In some dogs, they prevent the owners from leaving. In others, they may become distressed or depressed as their owners start to leave. During the time that the owners are gone, the dogs might bark, howl, relieve themselves in the house, destroy furniture, or try to escape.

How do you know if your dog has separation anxiety or just needs to be taught house manners?

If your dog has separation anxiety, they will show signs of stress when you prepare to leave. They might drool, whine, pace, or become increasingly anxious as you get your coat and keys. Before assuming your dog has separation anxiety, rule out any medical problems or medications that might cause some of these symptoms.

How can you help your dog with separation anxiety?

If your dog has mild separation anxiety, counterconditioning may help. Counterconditioning is the process that changes an animals anxious reaction to a calmer one. This can be done by helping the dog associate being left alone with good things, like food. One example is that every time you leave the house, you could give your dog a stuffed KONG that will take them awhile to finish. If done enough times, the dog will start to see being left alone as something good. Fixing moderate to severe separation anxiety can be a bit trickier. The ASPCA gives a step by step process to help desentize and countercondition your dog to enjoy being left alone.

While working with your dog on their separation anxiety, consider taking them to day care. By taking them to our daycare, they won’t be left alone. Instead, they’ll be able to play with our staff and enjoy the time that you are gone.

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