Separation Anxiety In Pets
Lots of travel and parties happening during the holidays, which means your pet may be left alone a lot more than usual. If that happens, they can act out: barking, howling, urination in the home. So how can you prepare you pet?
Dr. Jyl discusses ways to prevent it:
- What causes separation anxiety?
- How severe can it get and does it vary with breed or age?
- What should we NOT do to treat separation anxiety?
Dr. Jyl talks with FOX40 about separation anxiety in pets
Dogs can exhibit distress and behavior problems when left alone.
The most common behaviors include:
- Scratching at doors or windows and digging
- Destructive chewing
- Whining, howling, and barking
- Urination and defecation
How to treat minor separation anxiety
There are great options for treatment now besides just the prescription anxiety medications:
- Desensitizing exercises
- Establish a safety cue—a word or action that you use every time you leave that tells your dog you’ll be back
- Don’t make a big deal out of arrivals and departures. For example, when you arrive home, ignore your dog for the first few minutes then calmly pet him
- Leave your dog with an article of clothing that smells like you, such as an old T-shirt that you’ve slept in recently
- Pheromone Products (Plug ins, collars)
- Calming Sprays (Pheromones, Lavenders, Rescue Remedy)
- Natural herbals, Homeopathic, Whole Food Supplements( Nutraclam, Homeopathic drops, Stress Away Tabs, etc.)
- Leaving toys or Kongs out while gone
How to handle a more severe problem:
- Use the techniques outlined above along with desensitization training.
- Teach your dog the sit-stay and down-stay commands using positive reinforcement. This training will help him learn that he can remain calmly and happily in one place while you go to another room.
- Create a “safe place” to limit your dog’s ability to be destructive. A safe place should:
- Confine loosely rather than strictly (a room with a window and distractions rather than total isolation)
- Contain busy toys for distraction
- Have dirty laundry to lend a calming olfactory cue or other safety cues.
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Dr. Jyl Rubin DVM (916) 989-0738