Dogs have separation anxiety too
Dogs, like humans, suffer from separation anxiety. Your dog may have experienced it. How do you know if your dog suffers from separation anxiety? There may have been a time (or perhaps right now) when your dog showed destructive behavior and you have actually come home to find the house in disarray -- papers were scattered all over the place, the trash can was knocked over with garbage spilling out, your shoes and clothes were chewed into pieces and shred.
You were bewildered because the destruction couldn't have been done by your sweet dog. After all, he's been with you since he was a small pup and he always had a sweet disposition, always eager to please, and always wanting to be around you.
Another way to find out if your dog has separation anxiety is by asking your neighbor is he or she heard the dog barking excessively. If any of these are true, read on.
Believe it or not, your dog had (or is suffering from) separation anxiety. It is a condition that is actually very common among puppies and dogs. Dogs exhibit this panic disorder when their owners are not around. Dogs with separation anxiety become very afraid of being left alone and this fear manifests itself in destructive behaviors.
You probably already know that dogs are social animals. Starting from birth, dogs become dependent and attached to their mother and other litter. If you acquired your dog when he was still a puppy then he would have transferred this dependence and attachment to you. Thus, when you often leave your dog alone in the house, he would experience separation anxiety.
Your dog may have separation anxiety if you observe the following in your dog:
- destructive behaviors
- excessive barking, crying, whining and howling
- house soiling
- constant pacing
- excessive salivation
- scratching or chewing at furniture, doors, walls, windows and other objects
Separation anxiety in dogs can be caused by a number of things. In some dogs, separation anxiety was caused by previous experiences such as loss or abandonment of their previous owners. Separation anxiety may not show right away in many dogs, and the best way to treat it is by training your dog to understand that when you are only gone for a temporary time, sometimes medications might be necessary. If the separation anxiety is too severe and dog training did not help, you will need to consult with your veterinarian.
Here are a few more things that may cause separation anxiety in dogs:
- A traumatic experience like an injury, alarm going off or a thunderstorm while the dog is alone.
- A new family member or the loss of one.
- Premature separation from the mother and other litter.
- Introduction of a new pet, and spending more time with the new pet.
- A sudden change in lifestyle, schedule or even environment (e.g., moving to a new place).
- Physiological and mental changes that happen as dogs get older.