Helping dogs with severe separation anxiety
Dogs with severe separation anxiety experience serious stress and suffering. Continuous stress may damage your dog's health and affect his or her quality of life. It may also negatively affect your life, leaving you unable to part with your dog or lead a full life.
If you own a dog with a severe case of separation anxiety, it is important to find a good dog behaviourist and make sure your veterinarian is on board too as soon as the problem has been detected.
Dogs that experience separation anxiety so severe that they refuse to drink, eat, or even sleep when their owner is away may benefit from medications that lessen the symptoms.
There are also a wide range of products out there – products that help your dog to stay calm, such as crates, and even t-shirts that can make your dog feel cosy.
There are food products, such as herbal medicines and natural products in the form of pills, remedies to add to food, treats, sprays, and so on.
Finally, there are medications for dogs that are based on Prozac, and other similar medications that your veterinarian can prescribe. Medication should be used with the aim of helping reduce the stress and increasing the chances of the dog responding to behaviour modification training.
Medication itself will not solve the problem; it should be viewed only as a way to increase the effectiveness of the training. Once some progress has been achieved, the amount of medication can be reduced, and hopefully, eventually eliminated.
Helping a dog to overcome severe separation anxiety means not leaving them alone until they are able to cope okay with it. Training is the only time when your dog can be left alone.
This situation is hard to handle on your own. It is best to find supportive, understanding and experienced people who will be willing to help with dog-sitting while you are out.
Seek out help from your friends and family, dog-sitters, doggy daycares, pet resorts, or dog centres that specialize in helping dogs with special needs. Discuss bringing your dog to work with your employer. You should have a choice of temporary arrangements while you are training your dog how to stay home alone.
People frequently consider getting another dog to help their dog overcome separation anxiety. The experience of numerous dog owners has shown that the improvement when another dog is brought into the picture isn't actually that great. Many dogs with severe separation anxiety go into a state of panic when their owner is gone, regardless of whether another dog is around. You may even end up with two dogs with a stress response to being left alone!
Seeing your dog suffering can be heart-breaking. It can also be challenging for you to stay positive and continue treatment and training that can last for weeks, or even months. Make sure to get advice from a dog behaviourist, and talk with your veterinarian about your dog's anxieties. You will need every bit of good advice you can get.