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Seperation Anxiety Dogs

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help with Seperation Anxiety in dogs?

My friend adopted a dog who is having Seperation Anxiety issues. The dog does #2 when she is left alone. He sounds like he is about to give up on the dog. He is also saying how he will never adopt a dog again. This kills me.

The dog is a good dog, just need to get over this. What are some suggestions I can give my friend on how to deal with the dog. Also does anyone have any success stories of solving seperation Anxiety Issues? I am trying to convince my friend to hire a trainer to go to his house, but with no success.

Thanks in advance.

To begin with, make sure that nothing is physically ailing your dog. A disorder, disease or pain of some kind could be causing your dog to become unusually sensitive to changes in his environment. For example, dogs on low protein, low fat reducing diets can express their hunger through unexpected ways such as whining excessively.

If your dog is healthy, it is worth checking out his environment for sources of discomfort. Is it too hot or too cold? Are there threatening sounds such as other dogs barking? Are there strange sounds or smells coming from a nearby house or apartment?

If you cannot find anything wrong with either your dog or her environment, then it is time to tackle Separation Anxiety directly.

Leave home quietly and come home quietly
As often as you can, step out of the front door while your dog is watching as well as when he is not watching. At first, step outside for a few seconds and then come right back in before he has a chance to get upset. Do this several times a day varying the amount of time you are outside. Vary what you do as well. Take your coat, keys and briefcase sometimes. At other times just take a walk around the block.

If you normally leave through the garage door, substitute that for the front door. The idea is to remove the association between a specific door and your dog being left alone for a long time. If you have a specific routine before you leave for the day, try varying the routine. You can also go into a room, close the door behind you leaving your dog outside (or vice versa). This accomplishes the same purpose as actually leaving the house if your dog normally gets upset when you put a door between you.

Your dog can become a prisoner of habit. If he is used to feeling stressed and anxious whenever he sees you go to the hall closet and take out your coat, force of habit can make him continue to do so. Mix up the routine, leave your coat and briefcase and keys in the car in the garage and slip out quietly. Soon he will not be able to tell whether you are leaving for 10 seconds or 3 hours.

Try not to make a big show of leaving or coming home. A dog with Separation Anxiety finds the experience of you leaving very stressful so be the calm one! When you return, greet him calmly and ignore his crazy antics. Just come and go without any fanfare. For some dogs, completely ignoring him for 15 minutes before leaving and after coming home works very well.

Give your dog plenty of exercise, socialization and fun
A dog that is tired and happy is more likely to sleep and not get into trouble. If you can arrange it, take him on a long walk right before you leave.

A long walk or jog consists of 1-2 hours (or more if you can manage it) of active walking, jogging, or running with your dog, not a leisurely 20 minute stroll down the street. If your dog is particularly active and you are not, you may have to consider biking, skating or scootering with him. As a last resort, you may want to consider a treadmill.

Although a romp at the dog park is an option, many dogs do not get much exercise at parks and a dog with separation anxiety needs to move at a constant, fast pace over a long period of time to ease that anxiety and become tired and satisfied. If you have a retriever, an hour or so of continuous running and retrieving may do the trick.

If you plan on exercising with your dog before you head off to work in the morning, you may need to wake up several hours ahead of your normal schedule. With a large, young dog you will need to add 1-2 hours of walking or 1 hour of cycling, roller-blading or active retrieving. You will then want a cool down period before feeding him and leaving him for the day.

If you find that a significant increase in exercise decreases the separation anxiety, you can then see if exercise at more convenient times works as well.

Feed him before you leave
Some dogs become more tense if they are hungry. A stomach-filling meal with complex carbohydrates like oatmeal can make him sleepy and relaxed. The goal is to have a well-exercised, well-fed dog happily engaged in snoozing before you leave.

Leave the radio on
An empty house can be unnerving to some dogs. They can hear every car, pedestrian, delivery person and squirrel that is outside the door. A strange sound can set off whining and barking. A radio can add some white noise to the environment and dampen his reaction to what is going on outside. You can try a classical music station or some mild talk radio. Controversial talk radio, with lots of people arguing and loud commercials can make the situation worse. Try National Public Radio (no commercials, lots of serious chat) which is usually available on a local FM station in your area.

Give him something to do
A second pet could be the answer. With a second pet in the house, your dog won’t feel as abandoned. If this is not possible, try some engaging activities:

Try giving him a cardboard box to shred (just make sure he is not the type to eat the box)

Give him a treat-filled dog toy such as a puzzle box or rubber chew made just for dogs. Some people swear by hollow rubber chew toys stuffed with the daily meal, plugged with cream cheese and then frozen solid. You will have to try out a few concoctions and toys to see what works. You will want to have one that will occupy your dog for an hour or so or at least long enough for him to forget that you have left him alone!

Give him several chew toys that you rotate every few days. These could include rope toys, nylon bones and other safe toys.

Dogs are intelligent creatures and sometimes they get into trouble out of boredom and frustration. Try teaching your dog basic obedience (sit, heel, stay, etc.) and some party tricks (play dead, fetch slippers, etc.) It will give him something to think about when he is alone.

Try a crate
Make sure you have crate-trained your dog before you leave him alone for any length of time. The crate should be a place of security and pleasant experiences and never a punishment or a prison.

When not to use crates
Not all dogs take to crates. Some dogs are claustrophobic and will suffer even more when confined to a crate. They may do better in a room with a view and sometimes even better if given the run of the house but with the additional behavior modification as discussed in this article. If your dog claws at the crate door, bites the bars and shows excessive distress at being placed in a crate, the crate is probably not for him.

Aromatherapy and Dog Appeasement Pheromone or DAP
Dogs have such highly developed senses of smell that aromatherapy may work better for them than it does for humans. Consider adding some calming scents, such as lavender, to his environment. A plug-in air freshener or a stick scent-diffuser are safe ways to provide long-lasting and continuous scent.

Associate the scent with pleasant experiences such as receiving favorite treats or having a soothing massage. This may or may not work but at least your house will be nicely scented.

Training
The importance of training your dog cannot be overemphasized. A well trained dog has something to fill his mind, has better control over himself and is more likely to respond to you when you tell him to be calm and quiet. If your dog is not trained, you can enroll him immediately in a training class, hire a professional trainer or home school him yourself.

Place particular emphasis on sit-stay and down-stay commands. A high strung dog will find it difficult to sit-stay or down-stay for any length of time. This will teach him self-discipline. If you can make him sit-stay or down-stay while you leave the room, this will make it much easier for him to stay calm when you leave the house.

Make your dog stand on his own four legs. Do not let him lean against you on the couch, sit in your lap or place himself on top of your feet or legs. If you have a problem with this, make him down-stay in his own bed or place him in a crate while you are in the same room. This will help whether your dog thinks he is dominant within your home or fearful. The dominant dog will learn that it cannot do everything it pleases while a fearful dog will develop the confidence to be on her own.

Doggy daycare
In order to save your house and keep your sanity, you may want to take your dog to daycare while you modify his behavior. You can then go about your day without having to worry about what awaits you at home.

The advantage of daycare is that it helps socialize your dog and teach her that being without you can be enjoyable. Since lack of socialization could have triggered the anxiety in the first place, daycare may help hasten the behavior modification. If your dog is around other happy and engaged dogs all day even when his family is gone, he can learn to be less anxious.

Initially you may have to take him every day that you are at work or away for any length of time. Over time, you can balance out his time at doggy daycare with a significantly increased exercise routine. You can increase his regular exercise and decrease the time he spends at doggy daycare.

Medications: Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain of mammals. Melatonin is thought to help regulate the natural rhythms of sleep and wakefulness. Travelers use melatonin to reset their internal clock when moving from one time zone to another. Melatonin is widely available in pill form at your local drug store or pharmacy.

Melatonin, along with exercise and a meal beforehand, may encourage your dog to sleep while you are away so that he can match your working hours with his sleeping hours. It does not work with all dogs and you should consult your veterinarian as to the dosage that is acceptable for your dog.

Medications: Clomicalm and Reconcil

Separation Anxiety in Dogs Part 1

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Separation Anxiety

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separation anxiety

Medications for Dogs with Separation Anxiety

Overview of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Pets suffering from separation anxiety exhibit a wide variety of Symptoms. They engage in destructive behavior, bark excessively, suffer from Panic Attacks And often cry and injure themselves when they’re left alone. Although the cause of separation anxiety remains unknown in some pets, dogs that have been rescued from shelters generally suffer from this condition. Apart from this, if you have been spending plenty of time with your pet and he has become overly dependent on you, he will show signs of separation anxiety when you leave him alone for a couple of hours. Any change in your routine can also trigger off the Symptoms of separation anxiety.

Symptoms  of Separation Anxiety

All pets suffering from separation anxiety appear anxious and afraid. They often chew or bite their own skin due to boredom and fear of being alone and may destroy furniture or objects lying around the house. Research indicates that pets suffering from separation anxiety are also likely to get extremely disturbed when they’re suddenly startled by thunderstorms or loud noises. They may also urinate or defecate in unusual places. Separation anxiety shouldn’t be confused with behavioral problems. Although the symptoms of the two conditions are almost similar, dogs suffering from separation anxiety require proper medication that will help them calm down. Obedience training will also help to a great extent but most pets will need medication to get relief from the symptoms they exhibit.

Treatment of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Some of the most common drugs that are prescribed to treat separation anxiety in dogs include Clomicalm and Fluoxetine. Clomicalm falls under the class of drugs termed as tricyclic antidepressants. These drugs alter serotonin imbalances in the pet’s brain and alleviate the symptoms of separation anxiety and other behavior problems. Fluoxetine on the other hand is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that works to increase the amount of serotonin present in the dog’s brain. Apart from these two drugs, the vet may also prescribe amitriptyline to control separation anxiety. Since these medications are prescription drugs, you must discuss the pros and cons of administering them to your dog, with the vet.

Dosage and Administration

In most cases dogs suffering from separation anxiety require 0.5 to 1.5 mg of Clomicam per pound of body weight once a day or every 24 hours. While the dosage and administration instructions for Fluoxetine are always determined by the vet, dogs are generally administered 0.5 to 2 mg of Amitriptyline per pound of body weight every 12 hours. Since each dog reacts differently to these medicines, you need to ask your vet about the dose that’s right for your pet. An overdose is dangerous and can be fatal. You must therefore read all instructions that are listed on the medication you buy and follow them meticulously.

Precautions

Medications that are prescribed for separation anxiety in dogs have various side effects. Most medicines shouldn’t be combined with other monoamine oxidase inhibitors, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants or medications that are used to control seizures. You should also keep the vet informed about any other medicines (over the counter drugs/herbal remedies) that you regularly give your pet. This will help the vet determine if any possible drug interactions could take place. If the pet exhibits any side effects like facial swelling or allergic reactions after taking any of the medications listed above, contact the vet at the earliest.

Home Remedies for Dog Separation Anxiety.

There are several things you can do at home to prevent your pet from suffering from a Panic Attack when you leave. Since most dogs feel lonely and bored, leave a few toys around the house along with food, water and healthy treats. Keep the window blinds open so that your pet can look outside. This will prevent him from feeling abandoned or confined. Also leave the radio on so that the pet doesn’t sense the silence around the house. Some vets and experts recommend the use of a crate to help the dog feel safe and secure. Although not ideal, crate training is beneficial if the dog is left inside for only one hour. Once you return home, you must let the dog out of the crate and take him outdoors to urinate and defecate.

Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Although there are medications that help control the symptoms of separation anxiety, don’t solely rely on them to keep Panic Attacks at bay. Instead, consider keeping your pet at a boarding facility when you’re away.

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