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Helping Your Dog Cope with Separation Anxiety

Do you sometimes come home to find that Fido has made a bit of a mess? Does your pooch sometimes bark, howl, whine, or pace when he’s alone? If so, your pet may have separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is very common in Man’s Best Friend. It stems from the fact that dogs are, by nature, pack animals, and are often uncomfortable being alone. Separation anxiety is treatable, but the exact method that will help Fido get over his fears depends on how severe his anxiety is. That said, there are some general Do’s and Don’ts for helping your canine friend deal with separation anxiety. Below, a Greenwood, IN vet offers advice on helping dogs cope with separation anxiety.

Avoid Emotional Greetings/Farewells

Fido’s habit of enthusiastically greeting us at the door is super adorable, and often puts a smile on our faces. But showering your pet with attention when you are coming or going can actually reinforce his separation anxiety. Ignore your canine buddy for a few minutes when you come home, and just before leaving.

Don’t Punish The Pooch

Man’s Best Friend sometimes vents his anxiety in ways that don’t always go over well with his human buddies. But if you come home to find that your canine pal has torn up the couch cushions, chewed your shoes, don’t punish him. Some dogs want attention so badly they will settle for punishment. You may only reinforce Fido’s behavior.

Toys!

Give your pooch plenty of fun toys to play with while you’re out. A good puzzle toy can keep a dog occupied for hours! We also recommend playing with your pup every day, preferably before you leave for work. A fun play session will tire Fido out, and he’ll be more interested in napping than going through the trash.

Comfort and Safety

Offer Fido a tee-shirt or blanket that smells like you. This may comfort your anxious pet. If Fido has tried to escape before, consider doggy-proofing a room in your house, and leaving him there with toys, food and water, and a comfy bed.

Other Options

Doggy calming products, such as sprays, can also help. In severe cases, Fido may need medication or behavioral counseling. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Do you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health, care, or behavior? Contact us, your Greenwood, IN animal clinic, anytime.

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