What do vets recommend for dogs with separation anxiety? Simple and Effective Tips

Create a Safe Haven

If the dog is barrier-anxious and digging, chewing, or scratching its way through distress:

  • Identify a dog-proof area, such as the kitchen, mudroom, or spare bedroom. Ideally, this safe haven should be a space where the dog, on its own, chooses to sleep at times.
  • Have the owner invest in a tall, securely bolted, and easily opened gate for the safe haven; many dogs panic when faced with a shut door.
  • How do I know if my dog’s problem is due to separation anxiety?

    Separation anxiety describes dogs that usually are overly attached or dependent on family members. They become extremely anxious and show distress behaviors such as vocalization, destruction, or house soiling when separated from the owners. Most dogs with separation anxiety try to remain close to their owners, follow them from room to room and rarely spend time outdoors alone. They often begin to display anxiety as soon as the owners prepare to leave. Many but not all of these dogs crave a great deal of physical contact and attention from their owners. During departures or separations, in addition to vocalization, destruction and elimination, they may be restless, shake, shiver, salivate, refuse to eat, or become quiet and withdrawn. Although typically the behavior occurs every time the owner leaves, in some cases it may only happen on selected departures, such as workday departures, or when the owner leaves again after coming home from work. Dogs with separation anxiety are also often quite excited and aroused when the owner returns.

    Separation anxiety might be prevented by ensuring that puppies have scheduled times where they learn to spend time alone in their own crates or beds. Some dogs appear to have separation anxiety but are afraid to be home alone because something bad has happened to them while alone (e.g., storms, fireworks). Dogs that have both separation anxiety and noise or storm phobias will need treatment for both problems.

    Your veterinarian paired with an experienced dog trainer that focuses on positive reinforcement are your best resources. Once your veterinarian has given your dog a clean bill of health, they might prescribe a medication for dog anxiety as part of your pet’s treatment.

    Moderate to severe anxiety often responds best to a prescription anti-anxiety medication and behavior-modification training. These are not quick fixes, however.

    Dogs can suffer from different types of anxiety, some of which can be truly debilitating. As pet parents, we want to help, but we’re faced with many confusing treatment and medication options.

    No matter which medication your veterinarian chooses, you will also need to put behavior-modification protocols in place in order to help your dog work through their anxiety.

    Dogs usually need to be treated for about four weeks before the effectiveness of the medication becomes fully evident, and treatment needs to continue for at least two months after an adequate response is observed.

    How to Prevent Separation Anxiety in Pets | WIRED

    Just like humans, dogs experience anxiety. While unpleasant, it is a normal and also healthy emotion. Dog anxiety can affect all breeds, but may affect each individual dog differently. Although it is something that all dogs experience from time-to-time, if disproportionate levels of anxiety are left unchecked, a dog can develop an anxiety disorder. If left untreated, dog anxiety can lead to behavioral and other issues.

    How do you know if your dog has anxiety? What can you do to treat dog anxiety? We’re here to explain everything you need to know about dog anxiety — common causes, symptoms, and treatments. Additionally, we’ll discuss top tips for anxiety prevention. This way, if your dog ever does suffer from anxiety — you’ll have all the knowledge you need as an owner to help.