Separation anxiety in our dog is one of the most common phrases used by pet owners to describe a reaction in our pet when we leave a room or our home. It does not matter the length of time that we will be gone, only that he has been left alone. We can describe separation anxiety as a behavioral issue that manifests itself through signs and symptoms such as; excessive salivation, barking, whining, the destruction of things within the home, and attempts to flee from his crate or room. Other, more severe signs can be messing in his room or crate, scratching at the walls, doors, and floors or carpet, and in extreme anxiety even jumping through windows to escape.
This type of behavior is very stressful not only for our pet but for us humans who love them as well. Not only do we worry about the damage that is caused to property, but we also worry over what the behavior is doing to our dog. Because our pets become attached to their humans they can become anxious when they perceive that they are being left. This perceived threat to their usual content surroundings can trigger separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is not the same as bad behavior.
The following list of symptoms, according to the ASPCA, may indicate signs of separation anxiety:
Urinating and Defecating: Some dogs urinate or defecate when left alone or separated from their guardians. If a dog urinates or defecates in the presence of his guardian, his house soiling probably isn’t caused by separation anxiety.
Barking and Howling: A dog that has separation anxiety might bark or howl when left alone or when separated from his guardian. This kind of barking or howling is persistent and doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone.
Chewing, Digging and Destruction: Some dogs with separation anxiety chew on objects, door frames or window sills, dig at doors and doorways, or destroy household objects when left alone or separated from their guardians. These behaviors can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws and damaged nails. If a dog’s chewing, digging and destruction are caused by separation anxiety, they don’t usually occur in his guardian’s presence.
Escaping: A dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where he’s confined when he’s left alone or separated from his guardian. The dog might attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, which could result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped front paws and damaged nails. If the dog’s escape behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it doesn’t occur when his guardian is present.
Pacing: Some dogs walk or trot along a specific path in a fixed pattern when left alone or separated from their guardians. Some pacing dogs move around in circular patterns, while others walk back and forth in straight lines. If a dog’s pacing behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it usually doesn’t occur when his guardian is present.
Great informational tips on how to deal with separation anxiety on this video
It is always good to watch our dog’s behavior and understand what the signs and symptoms they are displaying mean. By understanding what is motivating the behavior and anxiety, we can begin to eliminate the stress and create a happier and healthier environment for our pet