Content Reviewed by an Essentials PetCare Veterinarian

Separation Anxiety in Dogs 

Separation anxiety is a common condition observed in dogs. Dogs are considered pack animals, meaning that they enjoy being in groups and, most of the time, they consider us as part of the pack! That means that when they are left alone, they can develop an assortment of anxious behaviors that could affect the bond you have with your dog and could even lead to health concerns. 

Separation anxiety can result in a number of unwanted behaviors such as pacing, vocalizing, destructive behavior, or urinating inappropriately in the house. Typically, these behaviors occur when you are not at home with your dog. These behaviors may be triggered by some type of change in the dog’s normal routine or environment or may be something that developed as a puppy and worsened with age. Many dogs that are adopted from a shelter or rescue develop separation anxiety secondary to living in such a stressful environment before their adoption. 

If you think your dog may have separation anxiety, talk to your Essentials PetCare veterinarian. It is important to rule out any type of underlying medical condition that could be contributing to your dog’s behavior. Once this is ruled out, obtaining videos of your dog while you’re away can be very helpful to know exactly how severe the condition is and what will be the best approach to treatment. 

The most important thing to realize about treatment is that there is no magic pill that will stop this behavior from occurring. In fact, medication should never be used as the sole treatment of a behavioral disorder. This is because the underlying condition needs to be addressed with behavioral modification through proper training. There are several medications, including ones intended for long-term use and ones intended for short-term relief, which can aid anxiety. These medications are not prescribed by Essentials PetCare as these cases need long-term management and support which is best achieved using a full-service veterinary hospital. Your Essentials PetCare veterinarian would be happy to supply you with a list of area full-service hospitals that could provide further assistance for diagnosing and managing this increasingly common condition. For mild anxiety, your veterinarian may recommend a calming supplement. 

Combining medications with a proper training program will always produce the best results that will give you and your dog a better quality of life. If this alone is not producing results, you should seek out the help of an animal trainer in your area who has experience with separation anxiety. You can even search for a board-certified veterinary behaviorist in your area using the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists website. 

More information on separation anxiety in dogs:  

More information on canine behavior from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists:  

More information on combining medications with proper training: