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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Have you ever come home to find that your pooch has acted up in your absence? If so, you aren’t the only one! Dogs do sometimes get into mischief when left alone. However, what many pet owners don’t realize is that this is often caused by separation anxiety instead of bad doggy manners. In this article, an Aurora, CO vet discusses separation anxiety in dogs.

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Man’s Best Friend is a pack animal by heart. In the wild, your canine pal would live with his buddies, and would rarely, if ever, be left alone. Fido sees his human friends as his pack, and can get uneasy or even anxious when separated from them. This is known as separation anxiety.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

If Fido has separation anxiety, he may bark, whine, or howl while you are away. (Note: these vocalizations may actually be your furry friend’s way of letting you know where he is, though that hasn’t been proven for certain.) Your canine companion may pace, chew or dig inappropriately, or even try to escape. Fido may also soil the carpets. Some pooches also engage in pica, which means eating things that aren’t food. Some of these behaviors can be quite dangerous. For instance, Fido could seriously hurt himself if he tries to escape or eats something toxic! If you know or suspect your dog has separation anxiety, ask your vet or a professional dog behaviorist for advice.

Treating Separation Anxiety

Never punish your dog for misbehaving in your absence, even if he did chew up the couch cushions. This may only make Fido even more upset, and cause him to act out even more. However, there are some things you can do to help your canine buddy cope with his anxiety. Offer your pup lots of fun toys to play with. We also recommend tiring your pet out with a good walk and, if possible, a fun play session, before you leave. Fido’s alone time will go much more quickly if he spends a chunk of it napping! Also, don’t pay too much attention to your furry pal when you are coming or going. This may just reinforce his bad behavior. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Is Fido due for an appointment? Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your Aurora, CO animal hospital, anytime!

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