Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Do you sometimes come home to find that your dog has made a bit of a mess in your absence? If Fido has ever torn up couch cushions, gotten into the trash, dug holes in the yard, or chewed up some of your things while he was alone, he may have separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a very common condition among our canine friends. In this article, your local El Dorado Hills vet discusses separation anxiety in dogs.


Fido is, at heart, a pack animal. Before dogs were domesticated, they were always surrounded by their doggy families, and were rarely, if ever, left alone. Some dogs do just fine by themselves, while others can get very distressed by their owners’ absence. While simple loneliness is sometimes behind separation anxiety, there are many things which can trigger its onset. A major change in environment or schedule are possible causes. Boredom, getting a new owner, or suffering the loss of a human or animal companion can also set off separation anxiety.


There are many different ways for our furry friends to display separation anxiety. Some dogs howl, bark, or whine when left alone. Others may dig, chew, or tear into trash or furniture. Fido might dig holes in the yard, urinate or defecate improperly, or even try to escape. Pacing is another symptom. Other dogs may demonstrate pica, which is a term for eating things that aren’t food. Many of these things can also be symptomatic of other issues, such as health problems, so you’ll want to have your vet examine your furry pal to rule out any medical conditions.

What to Do

There are several options for helping your canine buddy overcome his distress. Many dog behaviorists recommend ignoring your furry pal when you leave or return to your home, as giving Fido attention may reinforce his behavior. Making sure your pooch has sufficient toys and is getting enough exercise may also help, and are both very important to his overall well-being. Beyond that, the exact method which will work best depends on how severe your dog’s anxiety is. In extreme cases, your vet may recommend medication. Consult your vet or trainer for more specific recommendations.

Please contact us, your local El Dorado Hills vet clinic, for all your pet care needs. To read more pet care articles, please click here to visit our website.

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