It seems as though the world changes drastically every morning when we have to deal with the news of the day. While it can be difficult for adults, teens, and children to understand what is going on with COVID-19, stay-at-home restrictions, and other national events, it is even more challenging for our pets. Working and doing school from home was stressful on many pets who exhibited common pet behavior issues. However, now that many people are going back to work and there is the discussion of what to do with the upcoming school year, your pets may be going back to pre-coronavirus schedules very soon. Your South Coast veterinarian can help you sort through any problems your pet may be having and ensure that they receive the treatment and training necessary to reduce the impact of these changes.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Dogs, in particular, are highly in tune with the mood and goings-on within the household. The chances are good that your pet hamster, gerbil or goldfish won’t notice a thing, but it is much more likely that any canine or feline pets will be acutely aware of the changes to everyone’s schedule. Second only to aggression, separation anxiety is the top problem that veterinarians and trainers see most often. It can occur in newly adopted pets, family dogs who have experienced changes within the household, cats who have been moved to a new home, and all types of pets as they become more advanced in age. In the simplest of terms, separation anxiety is a collection of pet behavior issues that include destructiveness, sudden accidents when left alone, unusual pacing, and excessive barking. It can be stressful for the entire family and result in damage to flooring, furniture, and other elements within your home.

The good news is that separation anxiety is treatable. A program that includes behavior-modification training and, in some extreme cases, prescription medication, can help to ease your pet’s anxiety and reduce the damage to your home. Before trying any treatments, make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in South Coast Massachusetts. Discuss any pet behavior issues at your veterinary check-up, making sure to note any changes in the household, such as moving, work schedules, kids being at home more, or dietary problems. Your South Coast veterinarian will determine the best course of action and can recommend ways that you can protect your pet from potential hazards while they are exhibiting these destructive behaviors. Some of the symptoms of separation anxiety can be quite dangerous, depending on the situation that your pet is in while unsupervised.

The Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Sometimes the smallest change in schedule or patterns within the home can make a big difference to your dog. Symptoms can pop up suddenly, increase over time, and happen sporadically. Chewing and clawing at doors or windows in an attempt to escape, scratching and biting furniture, shoes, and clothing to create comfortable space – these are just some examples of destructive behavior. While it might seem that your dog is targeting you and lashing out in anger because you are not home as much as you once were, the truth is that his motives are more likely because he wants to chew, bite, or hide items that smell like you or that remind him of you when you are gone.

Other symptoms can include having “accidents” inside the house when left alone, such as urinating or defecating on the floor, furniture, or other objects. It is essential to remember that this behavior is a sign of stress, not intentional disobedience or anger. Any attempt to scold or correct your dog when you get home – especially if it has been hours since the incident actually occurred – will only make him feel more stressed and likely to exhibit further pet behavior issues. Unusual pacing, which can only be identified with a nanny cam or home security service, is another sign. Some dogs pace in straight lines, while others go in circles or create a specific path through the home. Excessive barking or whining can also be a sign of stress in your dog. You might not even know it’s happening until a neighbor complains because it will likely happen when you are not at home.

Contact Anchor Animal Hospital

The best course of action is to contact your trusted veterinarian in South Coast to schedule a veterinary check-up. They can make sure that your pet does not have any underlying health or physical conditions that might be contributing to their pet behavior issues. They can also recommend training programs, doggie daycare facilities, and prescribe medications that might be able to remedy the situation. If you would like to learn more about separation anxiety and other pet behavior issues, contact Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth by calling 508-996-3731 and speak with one of our team members.