Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

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Treating pet separation anxiety requires you to desensitize your pet so your pet is no longer anxious as you come and go. To desensitize your pet to your leaving your home, repeat each of the following until your pet no longer takes any notice. Gradually increase time before re-entry until absence is tolerated for an hour, two hours, three hours, etc. The Thundershirt is an affordable, drug-free solution for anxiety problems in dogs and cats. The Adaptil Collar for Dogs and Sentry Calming Collar for Dogs contain pheromones that mimic the pheromone that the mother dog produces to calm and reassure her puppies, which send the message that your dog is safe. The Sentry Calming Collar for Cats mimics the pheromone that the mother cat produces to calm and reassure her kittens. Quiet Moments (for dogs) is a calming herbal tablet containing chamomile flower, passion flower, thiamine, ginger, and L-tryptophan.
HomeoPet Anxiety Relief is a homeopathic remedy with chamomile, valeriana, ignatia, and other ingredients. Prescription pharmaceuticals prescribed for pets with separation anxiety include Amitriptyline, Clomicalm (for dogs), Clomipramine, Fluoxetine, Diazepam, Alprazolam, Triazolam, Cyproheptadine, and Buspirone.
Prescription pharmaceuticals don't begin to produce results until they've been taken for days or weeks.
Unfortunately, many pet owners do not realize that their own behavior is actually making their pet's separation anxiety symptoms worse.
Dog Separation Anxiety: Maggie is a two year old Shih-Tzu that is really clingy to her owner.
Either being mild or severe, separation anxiety needs addressed because it tends to escalate and become troublesome.
At the end do not expect your dog will be jumping for joy upon your leaving but she sure will upon your return. Help your clients take these steps to eliminate home destruction and, more important, canine anxiety when they leave their dogs at home alone. The goal of treating separation anxiety is to reduce a dog’s dependence on its owners. Help your clients spot the signs of separation anxiety by downloading and printing this client handout. The underlying directive here is for the owners to ignore the dog upon arrival until it is relaxed.
Have the owners train the dog to assume a calm, relaxed behavior during gradually increasing periods of separation. The owners begin by moving a short distance from the dog and then returning and rewarding it with attention or a treat.
Finally, once the owners can go out of sight of the dog, they can gradually increase the time that they are not in sight of the dog in the same way they were increasing distance. Have the owners train the dog to assume calm, relaxed behavior during gradually increasing periods of separation as they leave the home. The judicious use of medication can decrease a dog’s overall anxiety level and enable it to respond better to the behavioral tasks just outlined. Benodiazepines such as diazepam, alprazolam and clorazepate are typically used in dogs with separation anxiety to treat panic behavior seen at time of departure to help ease the transition. Trazodone can be used along with an SSRI or a TCA, but be sure to monitor for possible side effects, which include drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, headache and dry mouth, dizziness, constipation and urinary retention. Separation anxiety can result from suffering a traumatic experience, such as a major earthquake or becoming lost in unfamiliar surroundings. Leave Kongs stuffed with peanut butter or cottage cheese ready for him to dig into as soon as you leave.
Unfortunately, sometimes separation anxiety just isn’t preventable, especially with an older dog. Desensitizing requires you to start with behaviors that don't cause anxiety and gradually progress to behaviors that have caused anxiety in the past and you want your pet to accept. Individual homeopathic remedies used for separation anxiety include phosphorus, lachesis, phosphoric acid, lycopodium, pulsatilla, arsenicum, argentum nitricum, and kali carbonicum.
Provide a crate for your pet if it makes your pet calm, but don't use a crate if it makes your pet anxious.

Prescription anxiolytics should be continued for a minimum of 1-2 months after your pet stops feeling anxious. Your veterinarian may suggest homeopathic medications, such as HomeoPet Anxiety Relief, or prescription medications, such as Amitriptyline, Clomicalm, Clomipramine, Fluoxetine, Diazepam, Alprazolam, and Buspirone. Provide the boarding establishment with the calming pheromones Adaptil Collar for Dogs and Sentry Calming Collar for Cats because they can help relax your pet. Sometimes, curing your pet of separation anxiety requires you to change your habits as well.
Most pets with separation anxiety are very excited when their owner returns, so your pet's greeting behavior may be excessively exuberant. Pets with separation anxiety follow us around, looking increasingly more despondent the closer we get to leaving. She is however in good company as more and more dogs seem to suffer from separation anxiety. If you are getting ready and then when it is time for you to leave you start making a big fuss by hugging your dog, petting her and making it look like you will not see each other for an entire week, your dog will perceive your leaving as you are portraying it -a big of a deal-. Clomicalm is a medication that has been helpful.Also ask for a dog behaviorist, they may be able to come to your home and evaluate the situation.
They should not look at, talk to or touch the dog at times when it is exhibiting these attention-seeking behaviors. These behaviors are clinical signs of anxiety, so punishment, especially after the fact, will increase the dog’s anxiety level. The owners should make a list of activities they perform before leaving home that signal they are leaving and result in the dog getting more and more anxious. They should repeat this distance until it is clear that the dog is very relaxed and then gradually increase the distance until the owners are near the exit of the room. The owners should never force the dog to remain behind when they leave the room if they have not worked up to that level of departure. Ciribassi list the clinical signs of separation anxiety the important differential diagnoses to rule out.
It is unclear which of these effects is responsible for the reduction in anxiety that occurs with its use. If you come home to find your dog chewing on your old house slippers, in all probability he simply finds the activity enjoyable and uses your absence as a chance to gnaw away, uninterrupted.
For example, your dog knows that when you put on your jacket, you’re about to leave the house. The key is teaching him that leaving him alone actually means good things — the goal is for him to associate your departure with something positive. Dogs who’ve been properly introduced to their crate tend to feel safe and secure in this private den.
Left untreated, it causes damage to your house and belongings — and serious psychological suffering for your dog. Unlike many products for pet anxiety, Thundershirt does not contain any pheromones or drugs, so it helps calm your pet without making him or her lethargic.
This pheromone sends the same signal your dog got as a puppy snuggling with his or her mother. The Calming Collar for Cats works to mimic the natural way to help cats cope with fearful situations. If you can't lock your pet in a crate to prevent him or her from being destructive when you're not home, use herbs, homeopathics, and pheromones, or get a prescription medication from your veterinarian. Other pets are easily upset by wandering cats and dogs and become more anxious if they can see them in the yard.
Provide calming herbs, such as Composure Liquid MAX or Quiet Moments (for dogs), and arrange for your pet to have plenty of exercise and human interaction. Below are a couple of frequently asked questions about separation anxiety in dogs and cats. In the most severe forms dogs will literally rip the house apart in manifestation of their stress and frustration of being left alone. Do this frequently throughout the day until the dog seems more relaxed and used to the idea. They have a hollow spot where you can put a treat inside and the dog works on trying to get the treat out.

About five to 10 minutes before departure, the owners can give a toy stuffed with a treat to distract the dog away from the act of the owners departing from the home. Have the owners perform these activities when they have no intention of leaving the home so there is less of an association with the impending departure.
Again, each step should be repeated until the dog is clearly comfortable with each level of departure.
This involves using a signal, cue or marker so that the dog realizes that these practice departures are just that—only practice and not the real thing.
Once the signs of separation anxiety have demonstrated significant improvement, allow an additional two to three months and then begin weaning the dog from the drug by decreasing the dose by 25 percent every three to four weeks until the dog is safely off the medication or when clinical signs return. Initiating therapy at the low end of the dose range for three doses and then gradually weaning up the dose can help minimize the impact of these side effects. The results — including the destruction of your belongings and the deterioration of your dog’s mental and physical health — can be devastating. This signals to your dog that coming and going are casual, common occurrences — no need for drama or spectacular displays of emotion. In some cases, dogs prefer the sanctuary of a crate to being left alone in a big open house.
For situations that warrant desensitization treatment, it is strongly recommended that you consult a professional. If anxiety occurs, stop what you're doing and go back to the step that did not upset your pet. Thundershirt is also great for dogs and cats with fear of thunder or fireworks (or any loud noise), travel anxiety, crate anxiety, litter box problems, barking problems, hyperactivity, leash pulling, and even as a general training tool. In most severe cases a dog sitter will be needed to keep the dog positively focused on something other than your absence.
Clomipramine can also lower the seizure threshold in dogs with a previous history of seizures. Once the signs of separation anxiety have demonstrated significant improvement, allow an additional two to three months, and then begin weaning the dog from the drug by decreasing the dose by 25 percent every three to four weeks until the dog is safely off the medication or when clinical signs return.
Begin at the low end of the dose range for three days, and then increase the dose gradually as needed. Also consider quality of life issues for the owner, the damage done to property and whether relations with neighbors are being affected when determining a prognosis.
In fact, a diagnosis of separation anxiety in no way precludes a healthy and happy existence for your dog. Recommended crates for dogs include The Super Dog Crate with Cozy Bed and iCrates (Single Door). If you want separation anxiety to cease, it is better to ask your pet to sit or come, and reward him or her for proper behavior, than to soothe your pet when he or she is anxious.
It is best to ignore your pet for a few minutes after returning home, and greet your pet when he or she is calm. Thus, pets with separation anxiety begin barking, yowling, destroying furniture, or defecating right after we leave. Her owner though is not really much aware of what goes on when she leaves for work each day.
In some cases the dog will start self inflicting wounds, by constantly licking or chewing paws or even start exhibiting obsessive disorders such as constant tail chasing. Whichever approach works best, your dog should be able to cope better while you are out within a few weeks. You’ll continue adding actions, in baby steps, until you can leave the house for a period of an hour or more without consequence.
By taking a couple of months to desensitize your pet, you'll have the rest of your pet's life to enjoy having a pet that is relaxed as you come and go from your home.
Whatever the dog does, it is basically trying to manifest its unhappiness and upset of being left by itself alone.

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