While you might never have had to deal with this issue, many dogs can suffer from separation anxiety when their owners leave home. This problematic behavior can lead to health issues, destructive behavior, and problems with keeping your dog confined to the yard or even the home.
Dogs with separation anxiety need careful management of their condition to prevent them from harming themselves or causing destruction to everything around them. Dog owners should know more about this condition so that they can be sure about the steps to take to treat their pets if they start showing signs of this issue. The more that you know about separation anxiety in dogs in North Charleston, SC, the more likely it will be that you can help your dog to deal with being away from you.
Dogs can experience this kind of anxiety for many reasons. The most common reason for separation anxiety is that your dog is scared when you leave home. Other reasons can be the loss of another animal that shared the home or a change of living arrangement like a move to a new home.
Dogs that never suffered from separation anxiety before could also develop this condition as they age or if they suddenly suffer a health issue that causes them to become worried about their environment. Loud noises or other sudden surprises when your dog is home alone could also cause them to become frightened of being left alone in the home without you.
The symptoms of this condition can vary from pet to pet. Some dogs also experience these symptoms at a very heightened level, while others do not express severe symptoms even though they are struggling with separation anxiety. The most common signs of this condition are listed below:
Urinating or Defecating in the Home
This is a common symptom of this kind of anxiety. Dogs that never make messes in the home might suddenly do so when their owner is away or when something in their situation at home changes.
Barking and Howling
Dogs that have separation anxiety might also bark or howl while you are gone. This can lead to issues with your living situation, and it can annoy roommates if your dog engages in this behavior even when they are home, but you are not.
Chewing, Digging, and Destroying Things
Many dogs with separation anxiety will destroy things, dig holes in the yard, or chew things up. This is because they are worried, scared, or even frustrated about being alone, and they need to take this anxious energy out on something. This kind of behavior can also lead to self-injury, just as chewing on feet, broken teeth, or pulling out hair.
Some dogs with separation anxiety will simply figure out how to get out of their yard or their home and run to try and find the person that had left them. This is more common in animals that live in a backyard with a fence, but it can happen if your dog manages to chew a hole through the front door or climb out of a window and leave the home.
Some animals with separation anxiety will pace the fence or pace up and down in rooms of the home when the person they are attached to is away. This can lead to sore feet, as well as a thin body condition, and overall anxiety.
This is a unique kind of separation anxiety, but some dogs can experience this symptom when they are left alone. This condition happens when dogs eat excrement because they are worried about being left alone.
Listed below are the main treatment methods:
There are various ways that you can deal with these symptoms if your dog is displaying them. You should always consider taking your pet to see the veterinarian as well, just to rule out other reasons for this extreme behavior. Your vet can prescribe anti-anxiety medications for your dog, which might help them to cope with challenges related to their environment.
Other ways of managing this condition include offering your dog something like a Kong toy with peanut butter in it or other kinds of durable and challenging toys that will keep them busy when you are away. You can also crate-train your pet so that they have a nice, safe space to sleep when they are alone. If your dog is still worried, even in the crate, you can place a blanket or towel over the front of the kennel so that they feel even more protected from the outside world.
Some dogs benefit from things like thunder shirts or compression jackets. This gives them a feeling of safety that will make them inclined to go to sleep while you are away.
You might also need to work with a dog trainer to help you and your pet to establish an effective routine to help them to feel secure and safe when you are gone from the home. Desensitizing training, as well as creating a consistent routine, can help your dog to feel safe when you are not in the home with them. There are dog trainers who specialize in this kind of training, and you should consider these professionals your first choice for this problem.
Dog Separation Anxiety Can be Managed
While your dog’s separation anxiety can seem very overwhelming, the good news is that this condition can usually be managed fairly readily. You will need to make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise when you are at home with them, and you should consider getting them a crate to stay in when you are away from the house. Consider working with your vet to help your dog feel calm through the use of a gentle sedative as you start to retrain their anxiety issues.
You can always reach out to a dog trainer as well if you are looking for some new ideas to help a dog with severe anxiety. These professionals can make all the difference in your training plans and help to ensure that you and your pet can be apart from time to time without issues. For more information, contact Northwoods Veterinary Clinic in North Charleston, SC by calling (843) 553-0441. Our team will always be here to help you and your pet!