Separation anxiety is a common condition found in dogs. Unfortunately, the lack of understanding of this condition often disrupts the bond between a dog and its owner. We believe that all dog owners should establish a common understanding of the condition so that if they ever come across a dog with separation anxiety, they can recognize the signs and give the dog the help it needs.
Separation Anxiety and the Reasons Behind It
As mentioned above, separation anxiety is a common behavioral condition in dogs. One study revealed that 17% of dogs that regularly visit their vet exhibit signs of separation anxiety.
As the name suggests, separation anxiety is triggered when the dogs get separated from the person/another pet they are attached to. Long-term or frequent separations often lead to the development of this behavioral syndrome and make the dogs fall into distress and panic.
This distress and panic are exhibited in various manners. Some dogs get destructive and end up damaging the house out of sheer panic. Other dogs attempt to escape the premises in hopes of following their owner and end up hurting themselves.
The real reason behind separation anxiety in dogs is still unknown.
Separation anxiety is exhibited differently by different dogs. However, dogs who suffer from severe separation anxiety will show almost the same signs of distress. Regardless of the signs your dog is showing, you must understand all the symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs. These include:
- Destruction of the entry and exit points
- House soiling
- Following the owner around the house
- Spending very little time outside
- Exhibiting distress when the owners show signs of leaving, such as picking up keys, coat, etc.
- Incessantly asking for physical touch
- Asking for attention
- Showing restless behavior, shivering, shaking, constantly moving
- Drooling non-stop
- Refusing to eat
- Becoming withdrawn and detached
- Showing excessive excitement when the person they are attached to return
What Can You Do About It?
Whenever you notice something odd about your pet, the first thing you need to do is take them to a vet. Many of these symptoms could also be pointing towards various health conditions. A complete checkup by the vet would help rule out any health condition. Once you are sure that your dog is suffering from a behavioral problem, we suggest consulting a dog trainer or a dog behaviorist.
You can also try establishing a strict routine, helping your dog socialize, exercise, train, and give them rewards in the form of spending time with them.
If you fear your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, you must remain patient with them and try to find the root of the problem. With proper training and therapy, dogs can be completely cured of separation anxiety.