How to Tell if Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety (Pasadena, MD)

If you have never had a pet who struggled with separation anxiety, you might not be sure if that is what your dog is dealing with. For those who are not sure if their dog is just high-drive or suffering from anxiety due to being separated from their owners, knowing more about this issue can help. You will want to address this problem right away. Dogs who have separation anxiety can harm themselves and might be very unhappy overall.

Separation anxiety can make a lot of sense if you think about how dog social structure works. If your dog misses you too much, however, they can hurt themselves and make it impossible for you to keep them in a backyard or your apartment while you are away. Resolving separation anxiety often has a lot to do with diagnosing it correctly.

dog separation anxiety in pasadena, md

Dog owners need to be aware that there is a spectrum of symptoms that can be associated with separation anxiety and that not every dog shows the most violent or extreme version of these symptoms either. Just because your dog does not show all the classic symptoms of separation anxiety does not mean that they are not anxious when you leave, however. Even slight symptoms can be a sign of an issue that needs to be resolved.

1. Barking and Howling

By far the most common symptom of separation anxiety is often barking and howling. Dogs that are not happy to be separated from their owners or the other dogs that they live with might make a lot of noise to indicate their worries about being alone. Dogs are pack animals, so being alone is not natural for them. They do not like to be split up from their friends and their owners, and this can lead to them making lots of noise.

2. Pacing or Digging

Dogs that are suffering from separation anxiety often dig or pace excessively. They might be able to dig through the flooring or scratch through a door in their panic to get out of or into a space that they think might make them feel less lonely. Dogs that are outside and have separation anxiety might pace up and down the fence for hours and become thin and quite body sore. This kind of behavior can also lead to bloody feet, torn nails, and wounds to the body and the legs as your dog tries to escape or fit through spaces they cannot access.

3. Chewing Things Up

Dogs with separation anxiety can often be very destructive. They might chew up your shoes, eat holes in the floor or in doors, or rip up the furniture. This is a way to offer an outlet for their anxiety, and it is quite common in dogs that are not happy when they are alone. Chewing things up is not only bad for the house and for your personal items, but it can also lead to your dog ingesting items that are not edible and needing emergency surgery to remove a blockage.

4. Escape

Some dogs will jump the fence or dig their way out of the yard and escape, looking for their family or the other pets that they would rather be with. This can be a big problem if your dog wanders too far and you cannot find them or if they get hit by a car while they are loose. Additionally, dogs that are running loose can sometimes be picked up by the authorities and might end up in a shelter or another location that does not know how to reach you.

5. Self-Harm

Some dogs will chew at their own skin or pull out their own hair when they are suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to skin infections, wounds to the skin, and all kinds of other health issues. This is a very severe symptom but not an uncommon one in dogs that are very worried when they are left alone. This is most common in dogs that have been abused, but it does not only appear in these animals.

6. Making Messes in the House

While your dog might know that they should not make messes in the house, they might do so when you are not at home. Dogs that urinate or defecate in the home due to stress can make a really big mess, and they can also cause problems related to this behavior even when you are home. When your dog makes messes in the house in specific areas, they will often return to that location over and over even though they know that you do not want them to do so.

7. Generalized Anxiety

Sometimes dogs will start out with just separation anxiety and then start to become anxious at all times. This is more common in some breeds than others and in dogs that have been abused or have suffered a big change, like a move to a new address or a loss of a companion. Generalized anxiety can be just as hard to control as separation anxiety, and you will have trouble tackling both issues at the same time in some cases.

Separation Anxiety is Very Hard on Dogs

It can be really bad for your dog’s overall health to be really scared when you are not at home. For dogs who have been relocated to a new place or who have lost a companion who they lived with, this issue can seem to crop up out of nowhere. Some dogs also will just begin to be scared when you leave for no real reason that you can think of.

No matter why your dog has begun to display separation anxiety, you will want to attend to the problem right away. Seeking the help of your Lake Shore Pet Hospital vet and working with a dog trainer can make a big impact on this problem and help you to get the behavior under control. The sooner that you get your dog back to acting without anxiety, the better for both your well-being and theirs.

Call (410) 317-2028 or book an appointment online to talk with your vet about your dog’s separation anxiety today.

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You want only the best for your family and you always keep their best interests in mind. We understand your pet is a part of that family. Our veterinarian's mission at Lake Shore Pet Hospital is deeply rooted in treating you and your pet family how we'd like ours treated. We take great satisfaction in giving back to and developing strong bonds with the communities we serve, including Pasadena, Riviera Beach, and Lake Shore.