Dog Separation Anxiety in Arab, AL: How You Can Help
Dog separation anxiety is a common issue faced by many dog owners, and it is a stressful situation to go through. Some of the time, dogs that deal with this will attempt to escape, and this usually results in household destruction and injuries, especially at exit points like windows and doors. Some dogs get anxious when their owner is leaving or is not around, while others become anxious when their owner is leaving the house. Sometimes, some dogs display distress behaviors to prevent their owner from leaving the house. Either way, the condition is very serious, and it usually causes dog owners to give up their dogs because they get frustrated. Keep reading to find out more about separation anxiety in Arab, AL and how you can help your dog.
How You Can Help a Dog with Separation Anxiety
You should know that dogs can get a little destructive when they have separation anxiety – urinating, chewing, defecating, howling, digging, and trying to escape – simply because they do not want you to leave.
Teach Them to Enjoy Being Alone
You first need to understand why your dog is acting the way they are – what exactly the trigger is. The main goal when treating a dog with separation anxiety is to teach them to enjoy being alone, and this can be achieved by arranging things that will make your dog experience situations that will provoke their anxiety.
It could be a change in schedule or the family routine, it could be the loss of a family member or could be because you left them alone for the first time when they are used to being with people, and lastly, it could be because they moved from a shelter to a home. Whatever the reason may be, you should try to figure it out. In other words, you need to plan scenarios to make your dog experience what exactly is giving him anxiety (situations) without making your dog experience stress or fear.
Listed below are the common signs that may indicate separation anxiety. Most of these signs are done in the absence of the dog owners.
Excessive Barking, Whining, or Howling
This is when a dog with separation anxiety is separated from their owner or is left alone, they may bark, whine and howl excessively. It is usually always persistent, and as expected, it is triggered by the fact that they are left alone.
Dig Holes, Chew Things Up and Cause Destruction
This is another symptom of dog separation anxiety. When left alone, your dog may destroy different items in the house or chew on different objects. They could also dig at doorways and doors in order to try and escape, and all of these are usually done in their owner’s absence. This destructive behavior can lead to injuries such as damaged nails and broken teeth.
If a dog is exhibiting this symptom because they have separation anxiety, they do it in their owner’s absence. It involves pacing in an obsessive or fixed pattern, and it could either be back and forth in a straight line or in a circular motion.
Another sign is coprophagia and occurs when a dog defecates and eats their feces afterward. This is usually done in the absence of their owner.
Listed below are the treatment methods for mild, and moderate to severe separation anxiety:
Treatment for Mild Separation Anxiety
If your dog struggles with this, the best treatment for them is counterconditioning – a treatment process whereby an animal’s aggressive reaction is changed to a pleasant one. It may reduce or completely solve the problem. It involves associating what the animal fears (could be a place or even a person) with something the animal loves. As time goes on, your dog will realize that being alone is not so bad after all, and it brings good things. The best thing for you to do for a dog with separation anxiety is to associate being alone with some nice things that your dog loves, and here are some ways to do that.
- Don’t announce when you leave your house and come back like you usually do. When you return, give your dog no attention and ignore them for a while.
- Leave your clothes out when you are gone – the clothes should be recently worn with your scent all over them.
- Anytime you leave the house, give your furry friend a special treat. When you get home, take the treat away from them as it is advisable only to provide them when you are not around.
Treatment for Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety
For moderate and severe cases of separation anxiety, a few treats will not do the trick. You will need a much more complex counterconditioning program to help your dog. The best thing to do is to get your dog used to your absence by starting with short separations that are not likely to produce anxiety and increasing it over time to get your dog used to it.
Your dog may be used to your tiny habits when you are about to leave the house, like putting on your shoes, and they will surely get nervous when they see you doing that. So when you put on your shoes, do not leave the house like you usually do – make food or watch TV for a little while. Turn this into an everyday routine. Your dog will start to feel less stressed over time; this is when you can slowly start to leave. First, try leaving and closing the door behind you. Then stay for a few seconds before coming back into the house. As time goes on, you should slowly increase the time you will be gone because your dog will gradually get used to it.
Contact Arab Veterinary Hospital if Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Dog separation anxiety can be stressful for every dog owner as it is not an easy task to deal with. If your dog is struggling with this, contact Arab Veterinary Hospital in Arab, AL by calling (256) 586-3183 or scheduling an appointment online. Our animal hospital tailors our services to suit your dog’s unique needs and will be there for you and your pet every step of the way.