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Canine Separation Anxiety

May 15, 2015

Does your canine buddy often act up when you are away? If so, there’s a good chance that your furry pal suffers from separation anxiety, which is a very common issue in our four-legged friends. In this article by a local North Central San Antonio veterinarian, you’ll read about canine separation anxiety.

Causes

Loneliness is at the root of most cases of separation anxiety. Dogs are very emotional animals, and form very close bonds with their human masters. Couple this with the fact that Fido is by nature a pack animal, and not necessarily well-suited to being left alone, and you can have one very anxious pooch on your hands.

Symptoms

The symptoms of canine separation anxiety can range from mild to severe. Fido may whine, pace, or bark when left alone. Dogs with more extreme anxiety may chew, dig, or destroy things. Ripping up couch cushions, or going through trash, are two common examples of things dogs with separation anxiety may do. Improper defecation is also not uncommon. Some dogs will even try to escape.

Treatment

There are ways to help your canine buddy get over his anxiety. The exact method of treatment needed will depend on how severe your dog’s distress is, but there are some basic tactics that are generally recommended. Don’t pay attention to your dog when you are coming or going, as this may inadvertently reward Fido’s behavior. You’ll also want to avoid making a fuss over the mess you find when you get home. Dogs that are craving attention will sometimes settle for negative attention, so even reprimanding your pooch can reinforce his behavior. If your pooch has severe anxiety, consult a dog behaviorist or professional. It can take time and patience, but you can help your furry pal get over his fears.

What Not To Do

Never, ever, punish your canine pal for acting up out of anxiety. Fido is only following his natural instincts and emotions, and won’t understand why he’s being punished. You may end up making your four-legged pal even more nervous. Use positive reinforcement instead, and reward Fido when he’s being good. Try to avoid keeping your dog confined by himself for long periods of time. This will only make him more unhappy.

Do you have questions about your dog’s health, care, or behavior? Please contact us, your North Central San Antonio veterinary clinic, any time!

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