Cheshire Crossing Animal Hospital helps dogs and cats with separation anxiety in Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding area. Separation anxiety is often unknowingly encouraged by the owners. When owners make a big fuss when they leave or come home they are rewarding their pet’s concern and the stress actually increases at the time of leaving.
Causes of separation anxiety in dogs can include a change in routine such as a new baby in the house, moving homes or a long vacation away from home.
Dogs with separation anxiety can have many symptoms including:
- Destroying household items
- Escape attempts
- Eliminating in the house
- Scratching at walls, doors and floors
Most people believe that cats are solitary creatures that don’t seek companionship but actually they can be quite social, forming very strong bonds to their human family members. As a result, cats, especially those that were orphaned, may be prone to separation anxiety.
Similar to their canine friends, cats may develop separation anxiety after a change in their routine such as a move, divorce, new addition to the family, even a vacation.
Cats with separation anxiety can have many symptoms including:
- Excessive meowing
- Elimination outside of the litter box
- Urinating / defecating on the owner’s bed or clothing
Good News! Separation Anxiety can be Fixed
Separation anxiety can be remedied with behavior modification therapy and counterconditioning. Counterconditioning is a treatment process that helps to change your pet’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead. We want your pet to learn to associate the unpleasant situation of being left alone with something really good (something your pet loves).
One example of counterconditioning would be to give your pet a delicious treat that takes time to enjoy, like a rawhide bone or a KONG-stuffed toy, just before you leave the home. Over time, your pet will learn that the anxiety he or she fears actually results in an enjoyable experience.
Drug Therapy is only Temporary
Drug therapy is used only as a support mechanism to assist the owner in the rehabilitation process and acts only as a temporary fix for the underlying problem. In order for the separation anxiety to be cured, you have to treat the root cause of the problem and create a foundation by relearning.
Shelter and Rescue Animals
Any time a pet changes owners, the risk of him or her developing separation anxiety increases. Shelter and rescue animals have had a less predictable upbringing from an early age. Because they have lost human attachment in the past, and have had their routines disrupted, they are extra susceptible to developing separation anxiety. We can help! Contact us if you have recently adopted a shelter or recue animal.
Cheshire Crossing Animal Hospital helps dogs and cats with separation anxiety in Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.