April 05, 2021 2 min read

Separation anxiety happens when highly attached furbabies become upset and super-stressed when they’re left alone by their pet parents. It’s a serious condition and possibly one of the main reasons owners get frustrated with their pets and give them up. Anxiety in pets may be present in ways that owners might easily mistake for behavioral issues.

SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS

CAUSES

There is no definite evidence showing exactly why dogs develop separation
anxiety. However, dogs who have been adopted from animal shelters will most
likely possess this stressful condition than those dogs who were kept by a single
family since puppyhood. Other less dramatic changes can also trigger this
disorder. Here are a list of situations that have been linked to the development of
separation anxiety:

  • Change of guardian or family
  • Change in pet parent’s schedule
  • Change in residence
  • Change in household membership

COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS


A dog who has separation anxiety shows a lot of stress when they’re left alone.
They might:

  • Urinate and defecate when left alone
  • Bark, howl and whine to excess when separated with their pet parents
  • Chew things up, dig holes, scratch at windows and doors, or destroy household objects
  • Drool, pant or salivate way more than usual
  • Pace, often in an obsessive pattern
  • Try to escape
  • Develop the condition known as Coprophagia, or when dogs defecate and then consume all or some of their excrement. In the situation of separation anxiety, the dog performs the behavior when the pet parent is not present.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to determine whether a dog has separation anxiety or not.
Some common behavior conditions can cause similar symptoms. Before concluding that your dog has this disorder, it’s important to rule out the following behavior problems:

  • Submissive or excitement urination. Some dogs may urinate during greetings, play, physical contact or when being punished.
  • Incomplete house training. A dog who occasionally urinates in the house might not be completely house trained.
  • Urine marking. Some dogs urinate in the house because they’re scent
    marking.
  • Juvenile destruction. Many young dogs engage in destructive chewing or digging while their pet parents are at home as well as when they’re away.
  • Boredom. Some dogs can be disruptive when left alone because they’re looking for something to do.
  • Excessive barking or howling. Some dogs bark or howl in response to various triggers in their environment.
  • Incontinence caused by medical problems. Some dogs’ house soiling is caused by incontinence, a medical condition in which a dog “leaks” or voids use of his bladder.
  • Medications. There are a number of medications that can cause frequent urination and house soiling in dogs.

TREATMENT

If your dog has a mild case of separation anxiety, these tips and tricks might help your furbaby:

  • Give your dog a special treat each time you leave. Try giving your pup a puzzle toy stuffed with something really tasty that will take him at least 20 to 30 minutes to finish. Only give them this treat when you’re gone, and take it away when you get home.

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