Does this sound familiar: You’ve just arrived home after a tiring day at the office and you’re greeted by a tornado of energy! Your pup is jumping, spinning, shaking his tail… he’s going absolutely berserk! You inspect the layout of the room; something feels… off. Then you notice it: the couch cushion with bite marks; someone’s ripped out the stuffing! Then you take an even closer look around the room and find your favorite leather boots, demolished. The trash bin in the kitchen has been toppled over and rummaged through, and then you get a call on your cell phone. It’s your neighbor calling to let you know that the howling coming from your living room is driving your block mad!
Does this sound like your life? If so, there’s a strong chance your pup is suffering from Separation Anxiety. Campus Veterinary Clinic wants to help. Before making a self-diagnosis please make an appointment at Campus Veterinary Clinic. There can be many underlying physical medical problems that can exacerbation or trigger the condition. Take a look at these four tips designed to help ease your pooch’s separation anxiety:
1. Exercise, exercise, exercise! One of the most common causes for Separation Anxiety in animals is an excess of energy. When was the last time you took your pup for a hike? Or a trip to the dog park? Dogs, like humans, need a sense of purpose. When they’re sniffing along steep trails or wrestling with their dog buddies at the park, they’re doing more than just getting a good workout, they’re living a fulfilled life, one with meaning. Being outdoors allows them to use the skills and physical attributes that nature has given them. Taking away that time leads to an animal “acting out,” and acting out leads to countless numbers of lost leather boots!
2. Establish a “Departure and Arrival” Routine Start your day by taking your dog for a brisk walk. Then provide a reward for your pup’s calm energy with some food and water. Some dogs may need to rest before eating, but all dogs can benefit from hydration. The idea is to leave your dog in quiet, resting mode while you are away. Then, once it’s time to leave don’t make a big deal of it. This might sound a bit rude, but get into the habit of ignoring your animal right before you leave and immediately after you return. No eye contact. No touching. No verbal commands. This way, you are communicating to your dog that the time apart is no big deal. It’s just business as usual! Don’t forget just how inclined animals can be towards our own emotions. When you are ready to go to work, leave those guilty, nervous, and concerned feelings behind. Instead, let your dog know that everything is going to be okay by projecting confidence.
3. Start out small. Leave your dog alone for five minutes, then extend the time to twenty minutes, then an hour. Continue to increase the time you spend away until you can leave for a full eight hours without any more dog problems! Don’t be discouraged if you experience some growing pains. Stick with it and remember that Separation Anxiety is a behavioral issue that can only be remedied with patience, routine, and repetition. Like any bad habit, it’s going to take some time and some effort to kick it completely.
4. Medication Options: If providing a change in routine has little influence on your pup’s SA, Campus Veterinary Clinic can prescribe a series of medications intended to help reduce your pup’s stress and anxiety levels. Fluoxetine (AKA doggy Prozac) helps with obsessive compulsive behaviors such as tail chasing in dogs, or constant licking in dogs and cats. Its small pill form makes it easy to administer and it has a direct affect on the chemicals in the brain that can cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Come in for an Office Exam and let our doctor’s figure out the best medication regiment for your pet. Also consider the use of Dog Pheromone Products. Female dogs secrete special pheromones while nursing their offspring called “appeasing pheromones.” They act to comfort and reassure the puppies in times of stress. They have been shown to have the same effect on adult dogs as well. Most of these products are available over-the-counter in the form of collars, sprays intended for bedding and plug-in diffusers. For more info on helping to quell your animal’s Separation Anxiety visit ourwebsite (campusveterinary.com) or schedule an office visit; we’ll do all we can to help!