Which Dog Breeds Have Separation Anxiety?
Any breed can have separation anxiety. Since anxiety can be born from losing an important person or other life changes, it's not breed specific.
How Do I Know It Is Really Separation Anxiety?
Most dogs don't like to be left alone, but your pet acting a little down when you leave isn't a sign of separation anxiety. This condition is consistent, so it manifests every time you leave, and it involves destructive and/or dangerous behaviors such as:
- Excessive barking
- Chewing furniture, clothing, and other items
- Scratching or chewing on window or doors
- Urinating and/or defecating in the house
- Intense pacing
- Drooling and/or panting
Dogs with severe separation anxiety sometimes injure themselves in an attempt to escape a crate or get out of the house.
Helping A Dog With Separation Anxiety
First, it's important to understand that this condition will not self-correct. In fact, if left untreated, it will likely become worse as time goes on. That's why it's important to find effective treatment at the first sign of separation anxiety.
Also note that there is a range of separation anxiety that runs from mild to severe. What works with one dog may not help another, so there is often a bit of trial and error involved. Treatments include:
- More Exercise: Before you leave, try taking your dog on a brisk, long walk. If you can wear your dog out, he is more likely to be content when you go.
- Conditioning: Your dog associates you leaving with bad things happening. If you can change that, it may reduce his anxiety. For example, now your leaving is only associated with loneliness and, perhaps, a fear you'll never come back. Try giving him a very special treat upon leaving and again upon returning home in order to help him associate you leaving with something good. If you can, start with "leaving" for 10 seconds and come right back inside, and gradually increase the amount of time you are leaving your dog alone. An animal behaviorist can help with conditioning if you're not sure the best way to go about it on your own.
- Stress-Relief Products: Stress collars, shirts, and diffusers help in some cases. You could also try supplements known to calm dogs. Note: Always talk to your vet before giving any type of supplements or over-the-counter medications.
- Medication: In some cases, you may have to speak to your vet about medicating your dog. If all other methods have failed, the doctor may prescribe medication to keep your dog calm and alleviate the symptoms of separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety isn't limited to particular breeds. No matter what type of dog you have, solutions to the problem can be found with a little patience and, in some cases, help from your vet.
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