Does Your Dog Have Separation Anxiety in Boynton Beach, FL? Here’s How You Can Help
Many dogs are very attached to their family, and this is normal and healthy. However, there are times when dogs can get too attached to their owners and experience separation anxiety when their owners go away. This might display itself as chewing, making messes in the house, barking, or even panting and pacing.
This kind of behavior can be very stressful for everyone, not just your dog. If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, you yourself probably want to correct the behavior as soon as possible for your own well-being. Dogs that are struggling with being alone can be very destructive and hard on themselves and other animals in the home. If you are ready to learn some more about if your dog has separation anxiety and how to help, you need to keep reading!
Does Your Dog Have Separation Anxiety?
If you are not sure if your dog’s behavior is separation anxiety, you need to learn a little bit more about this condition. There are some key signs that indicate that your dog is having issues with separation versus another kind of behavioral problem.
The symptoms of separation anxiety are:
- Destructive behavior
- Making messes in the house
- Scratching at the door or the walls
- Following you around the house all day long
- Houdini Syndrome (trying to escape)
- Anorexia while you are gone
- Pre-departure anxiety
- Self-destructive behavior
Dogs with separation anxiety can seem anxious at all times as well, which could be a sign that they are experiencing generalized anxiety that escalates into separation anxiety when you are away. Both of these issues can be treated in largely the same way, so you can nip both these issues in the bud with the right plan.
Why Does Separation Anxiety Happen in Dogs?
Some dogs are just more naturally anxious than others, and this can lead to them feeling scared when they are left alone. Sometimes your dog might also have had a bad experience when it was left alone that has “trained” it to be worried about being abandoned or scared again when there is no one else home.
Usually, however, the real reason for separation anxiety is that dogs are pack animals, and they are hardwired to want to be in social groups. Wild dogs stay in packs for safety, and this is part of the hard wiring that can lead to your domestic dog being scared when it is left alone. The social bonds between dogs are very strong, and when your dog lives with you in the house, they consider you part of their pack. There would be a good reason for a dog in the wild to feel scared and anxious if their pack is not complete or if they are left alone. While some domestic dogs never struggle with this issue, this is actually a behavioral norm that is only a problem due to domestic living conditions.
How Can I Help My Dog with This Condition?
If your dog has been struggling with separation anxiety in Boynton Beach, FL, you probably want to be able to help them to feel better. It can be really scary to see your dog so upset when you are gone, and you will also want to be sure that you protect your dog from self-harm and overall emotional distress.
Listed below are ways you can help you dog that struggles with this:
1. Talk to your Veterinarian
Dogs with separation anxiety can be helped greatly by seeing the veterinarian. The veterinarian can recommend some changes to your dog’s routine and some medications that can help your dog to cope with being left alone. This process of changing the way your dog responds to your absence can be greatly improved with the support of professional advice and some calming medications.
Your vet can also make sure that your dog’s behavior is not a sign of something more serious that is leading to their anxiety. You do not want to miss early warning signs of other conditions that can be treated to help your dog feel better.
2. Talk to a Dog Trainer
The root cause of separation anxiety is a behavior that needs to be changed. You might need to seek the advice of a dog trainer to figure out how to teach your dog to cope with being alone. Separation anxiety is mostly a behavioral issue that can be corrected with proper training, and a professional can help you to get this process off on the right foot.
3. Change Your Dog’s Living Arrangements
If your dog is anxious when you are away, being loose in the entire house can make them feel even more scared and alone. Dogs actually like to den up or head to a smaller space when they feel threatened, and sometimes this is all that is needed to help them to feel better when you are away. Investing in a quality crate that is the right size for your dog and putting your dog in it when you are away is a great way to make them feel safer. A crate can sometimes entirely solve your dog’s anxiety when you are away, and you will be able to ensure that your dog is not getting into trouble when you are gone.
Dog Separation Anxiety Takes Time to Retrain
Make sure that you are prepared to be consistent with your dog as you retrain the way that they respond to your absence. This is a behavior that is rooted in instinct, so it will take a little bit to change the way that your dog thinks of being alone. Be patient with your dog and seek help from the vet or a dog trainer if you need it.
Separation anxiety can make you and your dog struggle with being apart, but you will both feel so much better when you have resolved the problem. Getting your dog trained to handle being alone is critical for so many reasons, and it is well worth the effort to identify and retrain this behavior in your dog.
If you have any additional questions about separation anxiety, contact Colonial Animal Hospital or Colonial Gateway Veterinary Center in Boynton Beach, FL. Our team is here for you and your pet!