Did you know that dogs can suffer from anxiety, just like people can? Separation anxiety is extremely common in our canine buddies. A Dutchess County, NY discusses separation anxiety below.
The name separation anxiety is actually pretty self-explanatory. Dogs are pack animals by nature, so they’re more or less hardwired to live with their buddies. Pet dogs tend to see their humans as their packs. Because our canine pals form such close bonds with their humans, they get very distressed when separated from them. This, as you have likely guessed, is known as separation anxiety. (Note: kitties get separation anxiety as well, though they don’t always show it as much.)
Dogs all show signs of separation anxiety in different ways. Some will express their doggy angst by barking, whining, or howling. Your four-legged friend may also pace, dig or chew inappropriately, or soil inside the house. Some pooches will tear up the trash, or even try to escape. Many of these things are often mistaken for bad manners, so separation anxiety isn’t always properly diagnosed.
It isn’t much fun to come home and realize that Fido ate your shoes or destroyed your sofa cushions. However, you shouldn’t punish your pet for these mishaps. Dogs don’t really understand the concept of punishment, at least, not the way we do. Your pup may not understand why you are angry at him. This could make him even more anxious. On the other end of the spectrum, some dogs crave attention so much that they’ll actually settle for negative attention. Focus on rewarding positive behavior.
How do you deal with separation anxiety? There are actually quite a few ways. One option would be to hire a dogsitter, or enroll your pet in doggy daycare. Also, make sure Fido is getting enough exercise and entertainment. Walk and play with your pup before leaving him home by himself. Hopefully, you can tire your cute pet out, so he’ll sleep through a good chunk of the day. It’s also important to make sure that your furry pal always has lots of fun toys. Finally, don’t make a big deal out of greeting your pooch or saying goodbye to him. This could reinforce his bad behavior, by rewarding him for it.
P lease contact us, your local Dutchess County, NY veterinary clinic, anytime. We’re always here for you!