By Mackenzie Barry
You are likely very attached to your dog and no doubt the feeling is mutual. You probably play together, eat together and you might even let the sweet guy/gal sleep in the bed with you.
However, building these long lasting, meaningful relationships with your dogs could result in sadness and/or anxiety when you apart. Separation anxiety is the term used for the stress a pet develops when separated from their owner or another furry friend. This can happen as frequently as each day when you leave for work, or could be initiated by separation or death.
Separation anxiety manifests itself differently in each dog. No dog is the same, and the symptoms for separation anxiety are unique to each animal. Your dog could display separation anxiety with typical “bad” behavior, or they could seem depressed and anxious.
Before you determine if your dog has separation anxiety, make sure that the problems aren’t medical or other behavioral problems caused by a lack of training. Take your dog to the vet for a check-up to ensure Fido doesn’t have any underlying medical or other problems that could be affecting his behavior and mood.
Even with a medical examination, it can be hard to detect separation anxiety in dogs. Below, we’ve listed some of the most prominent ways in which dogs manifest their separation anxiety. Your vet a good trainer can help diagnose and treat separation anxiety with your input.
1. Destructive behavior like chewing, scratching, or tearing apart the furniture in your home.
2. Barking and howling when they are left alone even though unprovoked.
3. Escaping from your home.
4. Incontinence which is usually performed while the owner is away.
5. General depression and sadness.
It can be difficult to watch your dog go through these symptoms of separation anxiety and be at a loss of how to help. Separation anxiety can be a debilitating for dogs and may result in an otherwise wonderful pet being relinquished if it isn’t treated.
At Colorado Companion Animal Sanctuary, we know how important it is to work with animals to resolve separation anxiety and other behavioral or emotional issues. Many animals in shelters are there due to behaviors like the ones listed above. Check out our next article for tips on how to help your dog cope with separation anxiety.