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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Did you know that many of our canine pals suffer from separation anxiety? Fido is a pack animal at heart: in the wild, dogs are always with their pack mates, and are hardly ever alone. Your pet may become restless, lonely, sad, and depressed when he’s all by himself. This is known as separation anxiety. Here, a Plano, TX vet discusses canine separation anxiety.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

Dogs with separation anxiety sometimes get into trouble when left alone. Fido may get into the trash, dig holes in the yard, chew your shoes, or eat your sofa cushions. Man’s Best Friend has been known to bark, howl, or pace when his human buddies are away, and he may try to eat things that aren’t food. Inappropriate defecation is also not uncommon. Your furry pal could even try to escape! Some of these behaviors can be very dangerous: for instance, your pup could get very, very sick by eating something he shouldn’t. Therefore, it’s important to address this issue as soon as possible.

Treating Separation Anxiety

Now for the good news: separation anxiety is treatable. Since every case is a little different, we do advise that you speak to your vet or a professional dog behaviorist, and get some specific recommendations. And while there are many different training tactics, we urge you to avoid those that rely on negative reinforcement. Dogs don’t understand punishment, so these tactics often backfire. Instead, focus on rewarding Fido for good behavior.

General Do’s And Don’ts

While each dog is different, there are some common rules of thumb to follow when dealing with separation anxiety. First and foremost, make sure that Fido is getting plenty of exercise, and has lots of fun toys to keep him occupied while you’re gone. Puzzle toys are wonderful, because they can keep our canine buddies occupied for hours! Another thing that is important—and which may surprise you—is to avoid giving your pet over-affectionate greetings or long farewells. This can actually reinforce your pup’s anxiety! Ignore your furry friend for a few minutes when you’re coming or going. Last but not least, if your pooch tends to make a mess when he’s home alone, puppyproof a specific room, and put Fido there when you go to work.

Is Fido due for an exam, vaccines, or parasite control? Contact us, your Plano, TX animal clinic, today!

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