How Do I Know If My Dog Has Separation Anxiety?
It may be hard to know if your dog has separation anxiety, but you can look for telltale symptoms such as excessive barking, pacing, whining, destructive chewing, excessive drooling, and frantic attempts to escape at any cost. The behaviors are frustrating, and can even be dangerous, but there are ways to deal with them that will give you and your pet peace of mind.
Options for Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Some pet owners don't know how to handle a dog with separation anxiety, so they feel they have no choice but to rehome their dog. Fortunately, there are many ways to try to correct separation anxiety that are quite effective.
- Give your pets puzzle toys and other treats that are only offered when you're leaving the house. One trick we love is stuffing a fillable toy with peanut butter and freezing it. Your pup will really have to focus to get all that sticky goodness out and many times, this will alleviate their anxiety.
- Don't gush over your dog when you first come home. Ignore him for 5 or 10 minutes after and then greet him.
- Leave a shirt or other item of clothing that has your scent. This could make your dog feel safe and comforted.
If the separation anxiety is more severe, it's important to see your vet to find a solution that will work for your dog. In very severe cases, some dogs injure themselves.
The vet may prescribe medication or may recommend working with an animal behaviorist to find a solution. Whether mild or severe, the problem won't correct itself. In fact, if left untreated, separation anxiety typically progresses over time. The sooner you seek help, the better.
The effort you put in to help your dog deal with separation anxiety will be well worth it knowing that your pet can be happy and healthy when you're away from home.
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