Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

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Puppies often have nighttime stress when they leave their mother and litter mates to go to their new home. In young puppies just coming to your home for the first time, this anxiety probably is a temporary situation that will work itself out over time. While fear of separation is an issue for dogs of any age, puppies crated at night or placed in a room away from their pet parents may feel uncomfortable due to their immaturity. Your first step in combating a canine's nighttime stress is to stop offering incentives for inappropriate behavior. While behavior modification should always be the first step when treating a dog’s nighttime anxiety, medication prescribed by your vet may also be necessary. Over-the-counter homeopathic preparations formulated to combat stress can also be helpful in treating canine anxiety. Separation anxiety can result from suffering a traumatic experience, such as a major earthquake or becoming lost in unfamiliar surroundings. Dogs that lack confidence, due to over bonding, under socialisation, lack of communication and training or no knowledge of what is expected of them, mistreatment in the past, long confinement or even dogs that have been abandoned or rehomed are more likely to exhibit behaviour's relating to separation anxiety. Since a leader must control all that goes on, his inability to control you leaving causes him stress and anxiety. Clomicalm is a mainstream drug that was specifically created for pets to be used as part of a comprehensive behavioural management program to treat separation anxiety in dogs older than 6 months of age. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website lists benzodiazepines, monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs, tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- SSRIs -- as drugs commonly prescribed to treat canine anxiety. In fact, a diagnosis of separation anxiety in no way precludes a healthy and happy existence for your dog. Although this may be fine for well-adjusted canines, it can reinforce negative feelings if your dog experiences severe anxiety. Canine Separation Anxiety Dogs are social animals that form strong bonds with people, so it is not surprising that they may feel somewhat anxious when separated from their social group. Separation anxiety may be manifested as destruction of the owner's property and other behaviors that may be harmful for the dog or annoying for people sharing the dog's immediate environment. It is important to realize that dogs with separation anxiety are not doing these things to get even with the owner for leaving, out of boredom, or due to lack of obedience training.
The onset of separation anxiety sometimes occurs after the dog is exposed to an experience that disrupts its social bond. Separation anxiety may be confused with other separation-related behavior problems that occur in the owner's absence. It also has been reported that mixed breed dogs appear to suffer from separation anxiety more commonly than purebred dogs.
It is possible that some dogs are genetically predisposed to develop stronger than normal attachment to members of their social group. To reduce the tension, dogs may engage in destructive behavior, house soiling, and distress vocalization.

Dogs with separation anxiety may become so distressed in their owners' absence that they urinate or defecate in the house. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat only when they go out. Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. A decrease in some fear and anxiety has been seen in conditions when some dogs are switched from a high protein, high energy food to a low protein (16 to 22 percent), "all-natural" diet (with no artificial preservatives). Audio or video recordings of your dog's behavior when you are away can help confirm a diagnosis of separation anxiety and can be helpful to allow you to monitor her improvement. Dogs should never be punished for the physical consequences of their distress when separated from you. Take heart from knowing that you and your dog are not alone -- night anxiety is a common canine malady.
Certain food can also cause dogs stress and anxiety because of the additives so feed your dog a good quality food. A traditional herbal remedy for the symptomatic relief of anxiety, nervousness, excitability and travel sickness. Owners of dogs that show separation distress are often nurturing, empathetic people who indulge their dog.
A lack of stimulation leads some dogs to engage in excessive and destructive "exploring," barking and other nuisance behavior.
However, geriatric dogs may develop separation anxiety in response to physical discomfort accompanying old age.
When this occurs only in the owner's absence, such "inappropriate" elimination is not indicative of a loss of house training but rather is a physiological response to the extreme distress the dog is experiencing from being alone.
Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when its owner leaves, the distress she feels is reinforced until she becomes absolutely frantic every time she is left alone. For dogs that display "barrier frustration," the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Since your dog’s night anxiety may be stressful for every family member, working with a veterinarian and an animal behaviorist is the key to addressing his fears and improving your relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes separation anxiety just isn’t preventable, especially with an older dog.
Leave the Radio On Tune a radio to a talk station; not music unless it is classical which most dogs find soothing. In order to stop our dogs from having separation anxiety, we first need to understand what is causing it.
Though I am not a fan of mainstream drugs sometime the anxiety is so acute that you need a stronger drug that will help.

Saying goodbye to a dog is something that helps the human deal with the separation, but in reality the ritual of saying goodbye means nothing to the dog.
These dogs become less independent and more emotionally attached to the owners as a consequence of their infirmity.
However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. You may freely distribute this article and any photographs or save to any electronic media as long as they are only used within the article and it is left intact. Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs It is widely held that dogs with a dysfunctional background (adopted from shelters, puppy mills, pet stores, dogs that have had multiple owners or traumatic handling early in life) are more prone to separation anxiety.
Presentation of Canine Separation Anxiety Unwanted behavioral signs of separation anxiety are only seen when the owner is absent, or when the dog is prevented from being close to the owner (at night, for instance).
Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. A better option would be to keep a crate or dog bed by your bed, gradually moving it farther away each night. You may still want to crate your dogs while you are gone, however having the crates close to one another can ease your dogs’ tension, as they will not be alone. This too, although it does not happen often, is separation anxiety because it only happens when we leave the house.
The dog with separation anxiety is distinguished by signs of distress when left alone and over-attachment when the owner is present.
Under such circumstances, a needy dog is in a high state of anxiety because she wants to be with her owner and is prevented from doing so. In some cases, dogs prefer the sanctuary of a crate to being left alone in a big open house. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. Medication for Dogs with Separation Anxiety Medication is often used in conjunction with the above treatment strategies and is generally helpful. Dogs who’ve been properly introduced to their crate tend to feel safe and secure in this private den.
When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety.

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