Separation anxiety is relatively common in cats and even if your cat has never shown any of the symptoms of separation anxiety this doesn’t mean the condition won’t develop. In fact, adult cats are as likely to suffer separation anxiety as younger cats when you are away from long periods of time. Separation anxiety can actually manifest in a number of different ways. Some of the most common signs of separation anxiety in cats include destructive behaviors like chewing and scratching, following their owner at all times, inappropriate urination or defecation, or even excessive grooming.
As you can guess, it may be difficult to determine whether or not your cat is actually suffering from separation anxiety. Still, if your veterinarian has ruled out other medical problems and you’re fairly certain that separation anxiety is the problem, there are things you can do. Separation anxiety may be triggered by a stressful event (such as your cat being alone during a longer vacation) and there are even some genetic or early environmental influences at play. As such, it is very difficult to prevent separation anxiety. Instead, behavioral modification techniques and natural anxiety treatments can help you solve your cat’s separation anxiety.
Firstly, try to desensitize your cat to your absence. Cats are very tuned into our behavior and they may be able to tell you’re planning to leave just by your regular routine. To desensitize your cat, engage in the behaviors that normally coincide with leaving for an extended absence from your house but stay home. Also, providing your cat with interactive toys or activities to occupy her while you are away may also prevent inappropriate behavior. Some cat owners have even noticed an improvement if they leave the TV on the nature channel or if they play the radio while they are gone. Regardless of the approach you choose, you can effectively solve separation anxiety in cats with consistent, patient behavior modification.
Separation anxiety is a relatively common condition that affects dogs when they are separated from their owners. In most cases, the anxiety that your dog feels leads him to partake in inappropriate and even destructive behaviors making separation anxiety a serious concern for dog owners. If you regularly come home and find household objects destroyed, your garbage in tatters, or receive constant complaints from neighbors about barking and howling, there is a good chance your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.
As pack animals, dogs have evolved to live in groups and they do not like to be alone. Most of the time, dogs will feel some separation anxiety, but we only become aware of a problem in extreme cases. Indeed, all dogs will be happy to see you when you return home. They greet you at the door with a wagging tail and possibly a few licks to the hand. While you were gone however, your dog probably felt lonely, which is basically a form of mild separation anxiety. Still, in more serious cases your dog will start to panic. He will cry and bark in an attempt to get you to return but when this fails he will turn to problem behaviors. Chewing books, shoes, and pillows or defecating in the house are all signs that your dog has severe separation anxiety.
Treating separation anxiety focuses on giving your dog the confidence to be alone. He needs to know that he is safe even when you are not home. Most veterinarians recommend careful training using behavioral modification techniques. You may even want to give your dog things to do when you’re not home. Interactive toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied when he’s alone so he won’t destroy the house. Nevertheless, if you suspect your dog has separation anxiety, speak to your veterinarian about a program to treat the problem.
When you leave your dog home alone for long periods of time, does he wreak havoc in your home? Separation anxiety is a real condition that dogs suffer from and one that many dog owners have experienced themselves. Dogs get bored and try to find activities to occupy their minds and many of these activities are inappropriate but this does not necessarily indicate that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. In fact, separation anxiety is associated with distinct and identifiable symptoms.
The major symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include:
- Refusal to leave your side when you’re home
- Destructive behavior
- Inappropriate toileting, especially defecation inside the house
- Constant barking and whining
- Behavioral problems when your dog is isolated, even if you’re home.
Imagine how you feel when you get anxious about something and then try to understand how a dog suffering from separation anxiety must feel. This condition is not simply a case of loneliness so you should need to make some changes if you suspect your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.
First of all, try to move in and out of the house without giving your dog excessive attention. You don’t want to leave the house without saying goodbye but you also don’t want to make a big production that may trigger the separation anxiety. In fact, by giving your dog a lot of attention before you leave the house, you may be inadvertently rewarding your dog’s inappropriate behavior. Also, it is vital that you exercise your dog regularly for numerous reasons but keep in mind that if your dog is tired he’s much more likely to sleep than destroy your house. Finally, try to leave your dog some interesting activities when you’re not at home. Leave the TV or radio on or get some toys so your dog will be occupied while you’re out. Still, serious separation anxiety may not be easily cured and you might have to turn to a vet visit or hiring a pet-sitter.