Here are the 5 Solutions for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Like us humans, dogs are prone to experience separation anxiety when their favorite companion leaves them for a while. One of the most common characteristics of dogs when experiencing separation anxiety is that they become disruptive, destructive, or upset. This can lead to lots of problems for both the canine and the pet owner.

According to ASPCA.org,

Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they’re attached to. Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors.

 

Experts and dog trainers suggest that treating a dog with separation anxiety is the same as training a new dog. When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve their underlying anxiety by teaching them to enjoy their own company or become tolerant when being left alone.

There are multiple reasons for a dog to experience separation anxiety which may include:

the sudden change of guardian or family

change in their usual schedule

Change in residence

Change in household

Common Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

These are the common symptoms shown by dogs who are experiencing separation anxiety.

Urinating and Defecating

Dogs including puppies often urinate or defecate when left alone or separated from their owner. Although there are many reasons for dogs to loosen their bowel, one of the most common reasons is separation anxiety.

Barking and Howling

Although it’s common for dogs to bark, it’s still uncommon for them to bark persistently when left alone. This could mean they’re missing their human companion.

Chewing, Digging and Destruction

Many dogs going through anxiety tend to bite or chew on stuff such as a couch, cushion, door frames, windows sills, clothes, etc. If you notice these unusual activities when you get back home then you must consult with your Vet or trainer to check if your dog’s experiencing any form of anxiety.

Escaping

Dogs are fine until they’re with their owners, the moment they are kept in confinement they immediately escape. A dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where they’re confined when they’re left alone or separated from their guardian.

In such a case, dogs might want to chew their way out of a kennel, door, or window, which can be fatal to their health.

Coprophagia

Dogs experiencing separation anxiety often defecate and consume their own feces. If a dog eats excrement because of separation anxiety, he probably doesn’t perform that behavior in the presence of its guardian. You should be wary about this because many dogs eat their own feces because of medical problems that result in a decrease in the absorption of nutrients.

How to treat Dogs with Separation Anxiety?

Here are some of the proven methods and preventive measures to treat separation anxiety in dogs.

Training and Counterconditioning

Deploying the trainers to curb separation anxiety and anxiety disorder in dogs is common. Specific training and counterconditioning are one of the most effective ways to treat separation anxiety in canines.

There are several training strategies owners can deploy to treat their dog’s anxiety. Counterconditioning programs help to condition your dog’s response to the stimuli responsible for anxiety, usually by replacing the anxious or aggressive behavior with a more desirable behavior, like sitting or focusing on the owner. Another related practice is to desensitize the dog to their anxiety. It involves introducing your do the source of anxiety, preferably in small doses and at a decreased intensity. Repeated exposure and rewarding positive behavior can help curb anxiety.

Anxiety Medications for Dogs

Anxiety medication is recommended for canines developing a serious anxiety disorder. We suggest you not to take up antibiotics until you’ve tried alternative methods such as training and counterconditioning.

A veterinarian may recommend medications or natural therapies. SSRIs and antidepressants are occasionally prescribed for dogs with anxiety, including fluoxetine and clomipramine in conjunction with an antidepressant to help your dog cope with the stress.

Using CBD Oil for Dog Anxiety

Cannabidiol Oil or CBD Oil is an alternative medication administered to dogs experiencing anxiety. CBD is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. Many down owners and humans themselves have found using CBD Oil effective in curbing anxiety. Although there is currently no scientific data to prove that CBD oil is effective in treating anxiety in dogs, many dog owners believe it works wonder. Consult with your veterinarian before using CBD Oil. Your veterinarian can help you determine if it might be a good alternative treatment for your dog’s anxiety.

Body Language

This is more of a preventive or a precautionary measure. You can start by learning your dog’s body language. Knowing when your dog feels uncomfortable or scared such as during thunderstorms, loud noise, outdoor visits, night time, etc, can help determine the reason or their anxiety. It can help you avoid negative experiences and instead use them as a positive training moment. Dogs with anxiety have noticeable physical gestures.

Socialization and Obedience

Socialization is the key to avoid separation anxiety. When your dog is used to seeing new faces including both humans and animals, they’re more likely to enjoy other companies. You can start by taking them to the doggy daycare where they can socialize with other dogs.

Note: Getting your dog a companion usually doesn't help an anxious dog because their anxiety is the result of their separation from you, not just the result of being alone.

Obedience training is another essential tool to prevent or manage dog anxiety. A well-trained and behaved dog is easier to socialize than a dog without training. Obedience classes run by professional trainers can help to desensitize dogs to the situations leading to separation anxiety.

What NOT to Do

You should be careful when you deal with your dog’s separation anxiety. Experts suggest that dog owners must not:

Scold or punish their dog. Anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or spite and negative discipline can lead to different behavioral problems in dogs.

Anxiety is caused because they’re upset and trying to cope with a great deal of stress. If you punish them, they are more likely to become upset.

Here is the quick infographics about the solutions for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier pet hospital in Urbandale. We employ some of the best-certified veterinarians in Urbandale to help with dogs experiencing separation anxiety. Our doggy daycare is well equipped with qualified professionals to help train and groom your dogs.

How Can You and Your Pet Beat the Self-Quarantine Stress?

Each one of us is contemplating when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over. Staying in a self-quarantine state can be one of the most boring and stressful things. One of the burning issues of staying put at home every day is the claustrophobia.

Like us humans, pets feel claustrophobic too! Being confined in a single space for a long time can equally increase stress in animals. Most pets such as dogs resort to incessant panting, pacing, and whining when suffering from claustrophobia.

An estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet. During the time of self-quarantine, you have an opportunity to beat stress and claustrophobia by indulging in playful activities with your pets.

How Dogs can cope with Self-quarantine stress?

Canine have been domesticated for over 10,000 years. They are bred in such a way that they require enough attention, time, and dedication. When left away for a long time, they can develop signs of frustration.

Claustrophobia in dogs is the fear of restriction and can vary in intensity from one dog to another. Whether a dog will develop this fear is influenced by their genetics, conditioning, as well as the amygdala in their brain. The amygdala plays a major role because it’s responsible for fear conditioning, as well as the flight or fight response.

Dogs aren’t used to sitting in a confinement for a long time. They want their owners to play with them or provide attention which isn’t possible when they are working from home.

Remus a blue heeler/collie mix owned by Jerin Henderson situated in Portland, Texas has started withdrawing from its regular life. As Jerin is spending more time working, he's not able to spend more time playing with Remus.

Remus started whining a lot lately. It started sleeping underneath the bed for a few days. It came as a surprise because Remus always slept with him on the same bed.

How to prevent self-quarantine stress in dogs?

  • Take them to an open area to calm down but do not let them off the lead as they are likely to run.
  • Talk calmly in a low voice to settle them and avoid large reactions.
  • When at home, avoid using doors to contain the dog. Instead, opt for gates that they can see out of, making them less likely to trigger.

Cats are looking for Me-Time

In the case of cats, it’s mostly the opposite. Cats are a more solitary animal and they enjoy their me-time.

A house cat Karban owned by Hirow Peralta situated in Charleston, South Carolina started showing awkward behavior. Karban was used to having the whole house to itself when Hirow went out to work. It enjoyed sitting inside the house, but since Hirow started spending her entire time home, Karban started becoming restless.

Hirow wrote in Twitter

“she so tired of me being home she became an outside cat."

Karban who never left home started escaping the confinement and spend more time on the roof.

How to provide me-time for Cats?

  • Increase the physical distance between you and your cat. This can include working in a different room or space in a house.
  • If you share the same space such as a studio apartment, give your cats something to play with or keep it occupied.

How Pet Owners can cope with Self-quarantine Stress?

The self-quarantine time has been equally difficult for pet owners. Most of us struggle with working from home while trying to balance time with pets. It’s likely for people to experience claustrophobia when we have to spend the entire day inside the home.

At such dire time, spending more time with pets has been linked with beating self-quarantine stress for both pets and pet owners.

An estimated 17.3 million adults suffer from major depression, according to the latest National Institute of Mental Health data.

Research also has shown that people who don’t feel connected to others are more likely to catch a cold, develop heart disease, have a lower cognitive function, and live shorter lives.

How owning a pet can help with beating stress and depression?

The companionship of pets such as cats and dogs in daily life can help prevent frustration and depression. It has always been attested by different scientific communities.

  • Interacting with animals on a regular basis helps to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Pet can be a great companion. They can help reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.
  • Owning a physical active pet such as dogs and cats can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, and encourage exercise and playfulness. Playing with your pet can improve your cardiovascular health.
  • Playing with and caring for an animal can be more beneficial for children at the time of self-quarantine. It can help them grow up more secure and active.
  • Spending time with pets can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which will calm and relax you.
  • Companionship will prevent the onset of stress and depression. Caring for a live animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Most dog and cat owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles.
  • Taking a dog for a walk, hike or run is a fun and rewarding way to stay fit and healthy. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements—and exercising every day is great for the animal as well. It will deepen the connection between you, eradicate most behavior problems in dogs, and keep your pet fit and healthy.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Supply & Resort, a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines, to find more useful tips and ideas on beating self-quarantine stress. To ensure you and your pets’ safety during this pandemic, we can provide useful tips and resources online.