It’s normal for a dog to be sad when his owner leaves but excessive crying, chewing, and ruining furniture? Not so much. If you believe your pup might be suffering from separation anxiety, these are the tell-tale signs and how to deal with it.
Is it actually anxiety?
Not all anxious behavior can be linked to a real issue with separation. Sometimes, bad behavior is just that, bad behavior, which can be fixed with training.
The warning signs
- Extreme destruction (e.g. consuming indigestible objects, urinating or defecating, ripping at furniture)
- Scratching or clawing at themselves to the point of injury
- Attempting to escape or hiding
- Loss of appetite
How can I stop it?
- First, address the issue with your veterinarian who can accurately diagnose your pet with anxiety.
- Eliminate fear slowly by reconditioning the dog with interactive toys or high-quality treats while you’re gone.
- Be consistent. Make their environment the same each time you leave so that they are less likely to get confused or scared (e.g. leaving a light on or music playing).
- If the anxiety does not seem to be subsiding, consult with a vet about the potential benefits of medication.