Separation Anxiety with PetsSometimes when pets are left home alone, mischief can arise. This may occur because of a lack of house training or it may be due to anxiety your pet is experiencing from being left alone. Separation anxiety is more common in dogs than other animals. Barking, growling, digging or scratching the doors, destructive chewing, escaping, pacing, urinating or defecating can all be behaviors exhibited when a dog is experiencing separation anxiety. It is important to understand anxiety as well as have tool to help relieve it. There is no conclusive evidence showing exactly why dogs develop separation anxiety. It is believed that loss of an important person or group of people in a dog’s life can lead to separation anxiety. Other less dramatic changes can also trigger the disorder. The following is a list of common situations where separation anxiety can arise in dogs.
- Change of Guardian or Family
- Change in Schedule
- Change in Residence
- Change in Household Membership
- Regularly exercise your dog well before you leave. A tired dog has less energy with which to be anxious and destructive.
- Don’t make a big deal out of arrivals and departures. Stay calm and emotionless as to not arouse your dog.
- Leave your dog with an article of clothing that smells like you, such as an old T-shirt. Also leave your dog a treat they can work on while you are away.
- Establish a safety cue—a word or action that you use every time you leave that tells your dog you’ll be back.
- Ask you veterinarian if they recommend using an over-the-counter calming product to reduce fearfulness.