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Pet Anxiety

sad french bulldog

Does your dog exhibit signs of anxiety when you prepare to leave? Does he seem overly ecstatic upon your return, as if it's been ages since he last saw you? Does he engage in destructive behaviors while you're away? If so, your furry friend might be suffering from separation anxiety, a prevalent issue among dogs. It's a serious concern that often leads to frustration for pet owners and, in some cases, even relinquishment of their pets. Dogs with separation anxiety may display destructive behaviors such as furniture destruction, excessive barking, whining, howling, or indoor accidents, regardless of the duration of your absence.

Recognizing the Signs of Anxiety:

- Howling, barking, whining, or whimpering

- Excessive drooling and panting

- Pacing in an obsessive pattern

- Attempting to escape

- Trembling

- Withdrawal and hiding

- Self-mutilation

- Avoidance of eye contact

- Indoor accidents despite being housebroken

- Destructive behavior in the home

Tips to Help Your Dog Relax:

To ease your dog's anxiety, consider:

- Providing a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter as a distraction while you're away.

- Altering your departure routine to reduce predictability.

- Ignoring anxious behavior upon your return.

- Leaving out recently worn clothes with your scent.

- Implementing desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques.

- Ensuring your pet gets ample daily exercise to reduce stress.

- Stimulating your pet's mind with interactive puzzles, training games, or fetch.

Anxiety Development in Dogs:

Most fears, phobias, and anxieties develop during social maturity, typically between 8 months to 2 years of age. Exposure to various social environments during puppyhood is crucial for preventing anxieties and phobias. Additionally, older dogs may experience anxiety due to cognitive decline, which can manifest as restlessness, changes in social relationships, forgetfulness, and altered sleep patterns.

Diagnosing and Treating Anxiety:

To diagnose anxiety, it's essential to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Common causes of sudden-onset anxiety include hypothyroidism, encephalitis, and toxicity. Treatment options may include counter-conditioning, desensitization, consultation with a Certified Animal Behaviorist, or medication. Combining medication with behavior modification often yields the best results. It's crucial not to punish your dog for anxious behaviors, as this can exacerbate the problem.

If your pet is displaying signs of fear or anxiety, schedule an appointment with our veterinary team. We'll work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your pet's specific needs and improves their well-being.



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