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Alleviate Your Dog's Separation Anxiety

- Provided by VetStreet.com
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One of the best things about cutting-edge pet care in recent years has been the growth in the number of veterinary behaviorists. These specialists save lives by helping animals change behaviors that stretch the human-animal bond to the breaking point.

In cats, that behavior is often inappropriate elimination; in dogs, it's often separation anxiety. In both cases, a combination of environmental management and behavior modification, and in some cases, medication, has saved many a pet from losing a home. But while avoiding the litterbox often has a medical condition (or a couple of them) as a root cause, separation anxiety is in many ways the result of our asking a pack animal to do something for which he was never designed: to spend time alone.

How a Behaviorist Can Help

Dogs who act out when left alone may cause significant damage, to themselves or their surroundings, or may bark themselves into a froth-mouthed exhaustion. If your dog has a hard time staying alone, you'll need patience, a plan, and quite possibly the help of a veterinary behaviorist.

If your dog’s anxiety is minor, you may be able to deal with the problem on your own, simply by managing his environment and upping his exercise. Otherwise, I strongly suggest working with a veterinary behaviorist from the start for the best chance at overcoming this distressing problem.

Make Separation Easy

The goal is to help your dog understand and accept that comings and goings are normal. Here are some of the elements that go into reaching that place.

Increase his exercise. Let’s face it — today’s dog’s are “born retired.” That often leads to such obvious health problems as obesity, but pet owners less commonly realize that the sedentary lives many dogs lead is at the root of many behavior problems. Every dog needs exercise every day, and dogs with behavior problems may need more. A tired dog is more likely to be a good dog, so make sure your dog gets at least 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity every day. Of course, before heading out, check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is free of any medical conditions that would make him unfit to exercise.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency during normal business hours, please call us immediately. If you have an emergency outside of our normal business hours, please contact a local emergency animal hospital.

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