Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Separation Anxiety and Dogs

Although some people will laugh off the idea that dogs experience separation anxiety, however vets feel differently, confirming that fifteen percent of all dogs actually experience separation anxiety. Yes, it seems as if dogs are actually able to suffer from stress and anxiety much the way we do. Although we can tell someone that we feel badly or that we are afraid, dogs cannot. Because of this, they use other forms of trying to communicate their feelings. They may bark non-stop, chew items, use the bathroom inside the house and even more kinds of destructive behavior.

There are many dogs who feel this stress so intensely that they will stalk their owners from one place to the next, wanting to keep the owner in sight. You may notice that your dog has gone from occasionally grooming to constant grooming. They may be salivating a lot more and can even experience diarrhea and vomiting. You might notice that when your dog was once active, now he or she is inactive and seems depressed or seems to be acting strangely. Some dogs with this condition will bite or chew on themselves and when you return home, you will notice that your dog is overly happy to see you and may jump on you and lick you for a very long time.

Separation anxiety is the dog's neurological response to their fears, such as being left alone. Shelter dogs are particularly vulnerable to this condition as well as stray dogs. Most times, this condition appears in younger dogs but can also affect older dogs. One of the reasons that older dogs experience anxiety is the loss of sight or vision. This makes the dog more dependent on it's owner and they feel uncomfortable when you are away from them.

Medical treatments for dog separation anxiety may include the use of a type of antidepressant called clomipramine hydrochloride, which affects neurotransmitters within the brain. Serotonin is one of these neurotransmitters that actively controls emotions such as anxiety and fear. If serotonin, a "feel-good" chemical is increased, levels of fear caused by separation anxiety are decreased. This kind of antidepressant is only used in dogs older than six months, and while it may cause periods of lethargy, it does not cause sedation. Some vets may recommend holistic remedies including herbs and even behavior changing techniques. No owner should punish or scold their dog for behaviors that they have displayed due to anxiety. This will only make the problem worse and only through patience and love will you achieve success in making your dog happier and well-adjusted.

Is your dog traumatized when you leave him alone? Don't get mad or frustrated. He may be suffering from dog separation anxiety. Learn proven and humane tips to help him overcome dog separation anxiety once and for all! Visit today!

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