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Separation Anxiety During the Holidays

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Separation Anxiety

During the holidays you may be away from your pet more often than usual. Most dogs will adjust to this and simply take a long nap until you get home. Some dogs, however, have difficulty being away from their owners because of temperament or training, and develop a condition called "separation anxiety."

Separation anxiety reaches across all ages and breeds. It is commonly seen in dogs with close relationships with their owners or who have had some sort of traumatic "separation event" (like some shelter dogs).

6 Indicators Your Dog Suffers from Separation Anxiety:

  1. Anxiousness and depressive behavior when you're getting ready to leave
  2. Attempting to bolt out the door with you when you leave
  3. Whining or barking non-stop when you're gone
  4. Urination or defecation in the house (with reliably housebroken dogs, not puppies)
  5. Scratching and digging at doors or at the floor by the exit
  6. Tearing or destroying furniture

Why does he do it?

Your Pet
with Pheromones
Comfort Zone with Adaptil plugs into any outlet near your dog's favorite retreat and releases pheromones in the air to relieve your dog's anxiety.
Spray bottle is also available.
Many dog owners have seen a remarkable improvement in their dog's anxiety with a relatively new product, the Comfort Zone with Adaptil. Inserted into any wall outlet, and odorless to humans, it releases Dog Appeasing Pheromones (D.A.P.) in the air throughout the entire room. D.A.P. mimics a new mother's natural pheromones, reducing and preventing stress-related behaviors such as barking, whining, chewing, and soiling.
Your dog may engage in destructive behaviors to relieve anxiety. Punishing him for behaviors when you are gone is not effective - dogs have very short memories and studies have found that most of the destructive behavior occurs within the first half hour of your departure. He may be experiencing separation anxiety and is engaging in these destructive behaviors as an outlet.

Curbing the problem... needs practical solutions
If you have a dog with separation anxiety, it is important to remember that your goal is to reduce his anxiety. Some actions you can take to curb his anxiety, and in turn the destructive behavior include:

  1. Redirection - offer your dog an
    interactive toy (like a Starmark Everlasting Treat Bento Ball).

  2. Ignore your dog for 20 minutes before and when you leave and also when you return. Comings and goings should be low-key.

  3. Alter your leaving times and "leaving cues." Pick up your keys and coat when you aren't going out.

  4. For short times (less than two hours) you might want to try a product like Ultra-Calm® Soft Chews to help your pet relax.

  5. If your dog has severe separation anxiety, consult your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist. Prescription canine anti-anxiety medication in conjunction with behavior training has been shown to be effective.

With a little patience and thoughtfulness... YOU may be able to help your anxious dog through the holidays. This will not only help him, it may make this time of year less stressful for you too.

Recommended Products

Ultra-Calm® Soft Chews

Ultra-Calm® Soft Chews

Comfort Zone® Spray with Adaptil®

Comfort Zone® Spray with Adaptil®


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