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Separation Anxiety in Canines Gets the Treatment

Jan 8, 2008
Domesticated animals are not immune to many of the same illnesses that plague their human counterparts. Whether physical or psychological, our pets are at risk for developing any number of diseases and other disorders. A common psychological problem that afflicts our beloved animal friends is separation anxiety.

The occurrence of separation anxiety is well documented as it relates to human. This common anxiety disorder occurs most often in toddlers and babies. Many mental health professionals consider instances of this behavior in very young children to be normal behavior. When the disorder strikes older children, it may be a symptom of other, more serious mental disorders such as depression.

It is very common for very young puppies to feel anxious or abandoned when their humans are away. Having broken the maternal bonds that developed between their mother and littermates, young pups are in the middle of a very critical transition period. Having received the proper training and finally bonded to their humans, most dogs settle into a normal routine. This is not to say that your dog should not be excited when you return home. My dogs are down right happy to see me and show it with lots of enthusiasm.

There is a difference between an enthusiastic welcome and coming home to find that your dog has eaten the sofa. It was once thought that such destructive behavior was simply the result of poor training. Inappropriate behaviors associated with canine separation anxiety can include destruction of household items, urinating or defecating in the house and incessant howling or barking.

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may even develop eating disorders and lethargic behavior. Playing with a favorite toy may no longer interest the dog. Owners would often blame themselves or worse, would take it out on the dog. Lack of proper training or inattention by the owner may manifest itself in the dog constantly acting out. One important indication that separation anxiety disorder is the culprit is the timing of the inappropriate behavior. Your dog may be on its best behavior except during those occasions when you leave the dog alone for a period of time.

More veterinary professionals are educating themselves to the signs and symptoms of this condition. As responsible dog owners, we are obligated to consult with a veterinary professional to determine whether our dogs need more than just training and other types of behavior modification. The good news for both the dog and the owner is that separation anxiety in canines can be effectively treated.

After years of research on the subject, many animal behaviorists have theorized that some dogs develop a degree of separation anxiety. Recent studies have found that human antidepressant drugs like Prozac, used in combination with some level of behavior modification, can help the dog overcome their anxiety. This approach to treatment is very similar to the treatment that humans receive for various types of psychological disorders.

Depression in humans was once considered a sign of weakness or simply an inability to cope with the stress of everyday life. Years of research revealed that depression was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The result was the development of various antidepressant drug therapies that helped to balance brain chemistry Modern treatment for depression in humans often involves counseling, behavior modification and learning various coping skills.

While no one is recommending psychiatric counseling for dogs, your veterinary professional can recommend some effective behavior modification strategies. The use of drug therapies for dogs has shown to be very effective and can improve the quality of life for both you and your beloved canine companion.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a short article writer, editor and website developer for the popular pet site petpages.com. www.petpages.com is a pet information site with free pet ads, dog classifieds, and puppy for sale info. Petpages.com also offers information on cats, fish, reptiles, birds, ferrets, rabbits, mice and even pet bugs.
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