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Can Separation Anxiety in Dogs be Cured?
Yes, separation anxiety in dogs can be managed. However, it is completely dependent on the dog, the owner, and the cause of the problem.
While training and consistent routines help some dogs recover, others might need a more drastic change in lifestyle – staying with dog sitters or in doggy daycare centers. Dogs with severe separation anxiety may have to consume anti-anxiety medication until the effects of the other training methods kick in.
Anxious dogs express several symptoms such as excessive vocalizations (barking, whining), destructive chewing, drooling, self-licking and mutilation, and house soiling (defecation or urination) despite being potty trained. Anxious behaviors are closely related to destructive behaviors.
Separation anxiety in dogs is triggered by the absence of a family member for long or short periods. For example, the owner’s departure to work. Sometimes, separation anxiety can be caused by a traumatic event or an underlying medical problem.
Therefore, if you are wondering how to treat separation anxiety in dogs, you need to start with a vet visit. The DVM will rule out medical causes and suggest further steps – seeing a professional trainer or canine behaviorist.
To treat a dog with separation anxiety, they will suggest positive reinforcement and training sessions. Mental stimulation (interactive and puzzle toys) and reducing the time alone will help minimize the signs of anxiety and help with the treatment.
How do You Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Dog separation anxiety training is the best treatment for this behavioral problem. Managing the signs of separation anxiety in dogs requires a combination of behavior modification and medication.
The exact approach depends on the dog and whether it spends short or long periods of time alone. Here are some helpful approaches for pet parents:
- Crate Training. Contrary to popular belief, crate training can be an effective tool when it comes to dog behavior and overall training. Dog owners need to ensure the dog links the crate with positive experiences and sees it as a safe place. When introduced to the crate for the first time, dogs should not spend too much alone time inside it – the introduction must be slow and gradual.
- Behavior Modification. Systematic desensitization and counterconditioning are methods that have proven successful in reducing separation-related behavior problems in pets. In both cases, dog owners need help from veterinary behaviorists. The methods are based on teaching the dog to become immune to the stress trigger and changing the way the dog feels about the trigger (in this case, departure cues).
- Dog-Appeasing Pheromones. Pheromones are natural chemicals that can induce a calm state in your dog (female dogs release them to calm down newborn puppies). Pheromone products for dogs are available in different forms, such as collars and diffusers. If saying goodbye to your dog is hard, put the collar on or set the diffuser to spray pheromones at specific time intervals.
- Calming Vests & Beds. Dogs get a sense of calmness with the help of anxiety vests and calming beds. Such products provide relief and elevate the mood during times of stress. Vests calm dogs by putting pressure on specific points, while calming beds are designed in a way that surrounds the dog’s body and makes it feel safe and secure.
- Anti-Anxiety Supplements. The modern pet market offers tons of different supplements that promote calmness and relaxation in dogs. Most of them are natural and safe for use, even for a longer amount of time. Popular anti-anxiety supplements for dogs are CBD oil, passionflower, chamomile, L-theanine, L-tryptophan, and B-complex vitamins.
- Anti-Anxiety Medications. In severe cases of separation anxiety, vets and behaviorists may suggest meds. Anti-anxiety medications are an efficient way to manage separation anxiety in dogs. However, they come with side effects and are not suited for long-term use. Talk to your trusted veterinarian before giving your dog an anti-anxiety medication.
- Formulated to promote calmness and relaxation
- Full Spectrum CBD Oil
- Third Party Lab Tested
- Made in the USA
- It’s a drug-free anxiety solution similar to an anxiety shirt that’s easy to put on, take off, and adjust thanks to simple hook-and-loop closures on the chest and under the belly.
- This vest is designed to apply gentle pressure to help calm your pup and alleviate anxiety.
- This vest is machine washable for easy cleaning.
What Supplements Help Dogs With Separation Anxiety?
As mentioned, anti-anxiety supplements for dogs come in many different forms – from CBD-infused peanut butter to passionflower soft chews.
So, want to know how to treat separation anxiety in dogs with supplements? Take a look at these high-quality and efficient anti-anxiety supplements for dogs:
- Honest Paws CBD Oil and Treats. The Honest Paws CBD Calm Collection is a line of CBD products made specifically to promote calmness and relaxation in anxious dogs. Each of the products is made with organic full-spectrum hemp and added ingredients for anxiety relief. The line offers CBD oil, CBD soft chews, CBD bites, and CBD peanut butter. One of the main benefits of CBD supplements is that they are natural and rarely cause any side effects.
- Vets Preferred Calming Hemp Chews. Packed with essential fatty acids, these chews can help your pet brave a storm, fireworks, and anxious car rides. The chews are also great for reducing aggression and boosting your dog’s cognitive function. They can be used as treats for your dog as it comes in a poultry flavor.
- Vetnique Labs Soft Chew Calming Supplement. This tasty chew is made with all-natural ingredients such as valerian root, theanine, chamomile, and lemon balm. The herbs work together to reduce anxiety in your pet. Additionally, the formula features two amino acids – L-tryptophan and L-theanine that reduce anxiety and promote a good mood.
- PetHonesty Calming Soft Chews. These soft chews feature a delicious natural chicken flavor and a blend of natural ingredients like organic hemp powder and oil, valerian root, chamomile, and ginger. The chews manage environmental stress and hyperactivity only 30 to 45 minutes after ingestion. Because of the delicious flavor, they are easy to use.
- Rescue Remedy Pet Supplement. These homeopathic drops are alcohol-free and made with natural ingredients. More specifically, the drops feature extracts from five flowers – Star of Bethlehem, Rock Rose, Cherry Plum, Impatiens, and Clematis. They are straightforward to use and available in two bottle sizes (10ml and 20 ml).
- NaturVet Calming Supplement. Available in the form of chews, the supplement contains a unique blend of thiamine, L-tryptophan, and melatonin. The formula features ginger to ensure they are easy on the dog’s stomach. They help reduce stress and tension and can be used as needed (half an hour before an anticipated stressful event).
What Medications Help Dogs With Separation Anxiety?
Dogs with severe forms of separation anxiety require meds. However, not all anti-anxiety medications are safe and efficient for dogs.
If looking at how to treat separation anxiety in dogs with medications, choose some of the following options:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
Anxiety type: Moderate to severe situational anxiety
Alprazolam is given to dogs who face anxiety during thunderstorms. However, it might be used for other types of situational anxiety too. It is a mild sedative belonging to the benzodiazepine class. It is most impactful when given during early-stage anxiety and is available in tablets that can be given with or without food.
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
Anxiety Type: Separation anxiety and generalized anxiety
Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that works by increasing the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, thus improving the dog’s mood. It is available as tablets and can be given with or without food. The med is not suited for dogs with diabetes. Discontinuation requires tapering off.
- Buspirone (Buspar)
Anxiety Type: Generalized anxiety
Buspirone is the perfect medicine for dogs who become anxious in social situations. The med. It belongs to the azaperone class of anxiolytics and has a mild anti-anxiety effect that works by activating the serotonin receptors in the dog’s brain. The downside of the drug is that it needs to be used consistently.
- Clomipramine (Clomicalm)
Anxiety Type: Separation anxiety and situational anxiety
Clomipramine is among the first FDA-approved treatment options available for dogs with separation anxiety. It is a tricyclic antidepressant medication. To achieve its full potential, it needs to be used for up to two months. It comes in the form of tablets that can be given with or without food.
- Dexmedetomidine (Sileo)
Anxiety Type: Situational anxiety (noise phobias and aversions)
Sileo is another FDA-approved medication that helps dogs with noise aversion. Being an alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist, it depresses activity in particular brain parts. Sileo is available as a multidose tube as a transmucosal gel (which needs to be applied between the cheeks and the gums). It would be best if you had waterproof gloves while handling the tube.
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
Anxiety type: Separation anxiety
Fluoxetine is an FDA-approved medication for treating separation anxiety in dogs. It is classified as an SSRI antidepressant and is frequently used for various behavioral issues in dogs. It is available in the form of capsules, tablets, and liquid. Fluoxetine should not be used in dogs with seizures.
- Diazepam (Valium)
Anxiety Type: Situational anxiety
Diazepam is a common anti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxant, appetite stimulant, and seizure-control drug. It provides relief from panic disorders, noise aversion, and habitual phobias. Diazepam belongs to the benzodiazepine class of sedatives and is available in oral tablets or liquid that you can give with or without food. Additionally, it is also available in the form of an injection.
What Dog Toys Help With Separation Anxiety?
Interactive, chewing, and puzzle toys are the best options for managing separation anxiety in dogs. They provide mental stimulation and keep the dog busy, thus preventing anxiety.
Want to know how to treat separation anxiety in dogs using toys? Well, take a look at our list of carefully selected anti-anxiety dog toys:
- KONG Cozie Ali the Alligator Dog Toy. This plush toy is cuddly and soft and can be your dog’s best friend during anxious times. It is made with an extra layer of material, making it extra tough and durable around the house. The plush material is comforting, and the toy comes with a squeaking feature for added excitement.
- KONG Classic Flyer Dog Toy. This toy is made with the KONG classic, durable rubber making it long-lasting. The design and build are perfect for an accurate flight and a soft catch. Additionally, it is easy on your dog’s teeth and gums. Playing with this KONG toy is exciting and will curb anxiety behaviors.
- Benebone Bacon Flavor Wishbone Tough Dog Chew Toy. This toy has a dog-friendly ergonomic design that ensures that your pet gets a good grip every time. Additionally, the toy tastes like bacon all the way through. This caters to your pup’s natural desire to chew and divert them away from your furniture and shoes.
- Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy. This creative toy can be adjusted according to the cognitive level of your dog. Pups can work with an easy setting, while older dogs can go for the tougher ones. It also helps your pooch learn slow eating and helps them stay focused with fewer treats.
- TRIXIE Dog Activity Flip Board. This interactive animal-themed toy features two levels and keeps the dog’s mind sharp and challenged. It is suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Plus, the interactive toy is made of pet-safe materials and with a durable design. It is also very easy to maintain and keep clean.