Dogs are social animals that form close bonds with their humans. For some, separation from their attachment figure can be very difficult to endure. Recognizing signs of separation anxiety in your dog is essential to provide the necessary support and guidance. Here are some indicators to watch for (non-exhaustive list):
1. Destruction of belongings: When a dog suffers from separation anxiety, they he/she may react by destroying objects in the house in the absence of their his/her owner. You may find furniture, the front door, walls, shoes, or other items chewed, scratched, or completely destroyed.
2. Excessive barking or whining: If your neighbor has ever told you that your dog barks or whines a lot in your absence, this could be a sign of separation anxiety. Anxious dogs may express their distress vocally.
3. Cleanliness incidents: A dog that is usually house-trained may start having accidents indoors when separation causes anxiety. This can include urination or defecation in the house.
4. Excessive licking or self-mutilation: Some dogs develop behaviors such as excessive licking or gnawing at their paws or tail when they are anxious, which can lead to actual injuries. Other dogs may also attempt to escape from their living space at all costs, putting themselves in danger.
5. Restlessness before the owner's departure: If you notice that your dog becomes nervous, trembles, paces, salivates excessively, paces back and forth, or even tries to prevent you from leaving, this can be a sign of separation anxiety.
6. Apathy or "sadness": Some dogs may exhibit a more apathetic behavior in the absence of their owner. They may lack energy or appetite.
7. Destructive behavior upon the owner's return: When you come home after an absence, an anxious dog may greet you with excessively excited or agitated behavior, which can include jumping, barking, or even uncontrolled biting.
8. Refusal to eat in the owner's absence: Some anxious dogs may not eat or drink when their owner is not at home, even if they are normally good eaters.
9. Excessive following: If your dog follows you everywhere in the house, it can be a sign of separation anxiety.
It is essential to note that these signs can also be associated with other behavioral or health problems, so if you notice significant changes in your dog's behavior, it is best to consult a veterinarian as a priority. Our behaviorists can also assist you with this specific issue. Our professionals can assess the situation appropriately and provide advice tailored to your dog's situation.