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Helping Fido Cope With Separation Anxiety

Does your dog sometimes act up when he’s left home alone? Perhaps you’ve come home to find that Fido chewed your shoes or got into the trash. Or maybe your neighbors have let you know that your cute pet barks or whines when you’re away. This kind of thing is often taken for simple bad doggy behavior, but is actually often a sign of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is used to describe the distress that many dogs feel when left by themselves. Fido is a pack animal by nature, and can get quite uneasy when his ‘pack’ (that would be you) goes away. A Flat Rock, NC vet discusses separation anxiety below.

Toys

Offer Fido lots of toys to play with. Look for things that will keep your canine buddy busy. Kong toys, treat-dispensing toys, and puzzle toys are all great for this.

Exercise

Make sure Fido is getting the right type and amount of exercise. Take him for a long walk before you go to work, and then tire him out with a fun play session. This will burn off his excess energy, leaving him calmer and, hopefully, a bit tired. Ideally, after you leave, your pooch will be more interested in napping than in eating your sofa.

Avoid Punishment

Never punish your pooch for doing something wrong when he’s alone. There are a few reasons for this. For one thing, it may backfire, and make Fido even more anxious. Dogs don’t really understand punishment, so your furry friend may not even realize why you’re angry. Also, by the time you get home, it will be too late. Reprimanding your pup after the fact just isn’t an effective way to rectify his behavior. Focus on rewarding positive behavior instead.

Avoid Emotional Greetings

It’s always great to come home to a happy dog. However, don’t pay too much attention to Fido right away, no matter how cute his ‘welcome home’ dance is. This may inadvertently reinforce his behavior by rewarding him for it.

Training

Training may also help Fido. However, the exact steps you’ll need to take will depend on how severe your pet’s anxiety is. His age, breed, and temperament will also factor in. Ask your vet or a professional behaviorist for advice.

Please call us, your Flat Rock, NC vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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