Separation anxiety is one of the most common canine behavioural issues that veterinarians see. Here’s everything you need to know about it, and what you can do to help your pet feel happy and relaxed when you’re not at home.
About separation anxiety The stress certain dogs feel when they’re left alone can result in separation anxiety. These are some of the signs that your pet is suffering from this behavioural issue: Excessive barking or howling when left alone Destructive behaviour such as chewing on furniture or scratching floors, walls or windows Urinating or defecating in the house, despite being house-trained Intense panting, drooling or pacing Attempts to escape from its crate even if doing so causes injury Causes of separation anxiety There’s no clear cause of separation anxiety. Some experts believe that certain breeds of dogs are more prone to it than others. There’s also evidence that suggests shelter dogs are more likely to feel this type of stress. Additionally, significant life changes such as a move or the prolonged absence of a family member may cause separation anxiety in dogs that didn’t previously display these behaviours. Helping a dog with separation anxiety Here are a few things you can do to ease your dog’s separation anxiety: Depart with a brief goodbye. An extended farewell can trigger more anxiety in your pup than simply leaving the house. A quick “see you later” will let your pooch know that you leaving the house is nothing to worry about. Leave your scent behind. Put a recently worn shirt or sock on your dog’s bed when you leave. Your smell will comfort your pet when you’re not at home. Exercise your dog beforehand. If your pup is extra tired while you’re away, he may not have the energy to be nervous and instead curl up for a nap. Create a safe and comfy space. For some dogs, being in a small space like a crate is comforting and can help them feel calm. Ensure that it’s snug by placing a blanket or pillow in the area and making sure there’s a toy to chew on. Talk to your veterinarian. In some cases, dogs may require medication or supplements to reduce the stress they feel when left alone. An affordable vet in Toronto If you’re worried about your pet’s behaviour or health, the team at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital can help. We offer many services and can provide vaccinations, checkups and pet dentistry for your canine and feline companions. Contact us today to make an appointment at our Toronto clinic.