Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety in dogs describes a condition in which a dog exhibits distress and behavior problems when separated from its handler. Hence, separation anxiety (SA) is a pet’s exaggerated fear over separation from its owners.

Dogs are pack animals and it is not natural for a dog to be left alone. Dogs can react to a lack of exercise and/or the stress of being separated from their "pack member(s)" by becoming upset, destructive, barking continuously, digging or eliminating in the house. The degrees can vary, and your dog may only do one, or perhaps all, of the behaviors. However, these behaviors may also be due to other conditions or environmental cues. Therefore, it is important for the behaviorist or veterinarian to obtain the dog's history before attributing separation anxiety as the primary or sole cause of the behavior.

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety typically exhibit these behaviors:

Following handler excessively


Excessive salivating


Destructive chewing

Barking, howling, whining

Urination, defecation in the house

Self harm

Digging and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to reunite with the handler


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