I spoke to my local vets at the All Creatures Veterinary Center last week as I am a little worried about the dog’s reaction to us going back to our normal lives following this lockdown. My main concern is separation anxiety, something which my dog had when we first got her but which subsided after a while, and now I am worried that it may come back. Even if your dog has not had separation anxiety before, it is likely that they will have become very used to the fact that you are around, and that could certainly cause an issue when you go back to work and they are once again alone.
Separation anxiety is not good for anyone, and here are the risks that it can present.
Damage to the Property
The first time around when our Yorkie had separation anxiety she would do all manner of damage to the flat, especially the doors. During that time I had to replace 4 door handles and three doors which she had relentlessly scratched, I suppose trying to get out, although I am not sure what her plan was beyond that. Another risk here is that the do the toilet in the property which of course is not something that you want and it sets a dangerous precedent for the future.
Damage to the Dog
During her days and weeks of jumping up and biting the door handle my little one ended up losing a tooth and cracking another one, and I believe that once she actually damaged her head, presumably because she fell after hanging off the door handle. It is not just the damage to your property which you should be worried about but also the damage which the dog can do to themselves. The get so determined when they are like this and when the adrenalin is pumping they don’t feel pain as they normally do. This of course is something which you do not want to happen and the thought of a dog injuring itself because of this is tough to bear.
What Can You Do ?
The key to helping your dog with separation anxiety is helping them get used to being alone, if you are able to do this then they will be a great deal calmer when you go. It is also important that you leaving and returning is not some grand event, this should be something very natural and in doing that your dog can get used to it. If you have tried things that haven’t worked then it is possible to give your dog some medication which will help them to stay calm. I would suggest however that you look to do this as a last case scenario because then you or your dog may get relevant on the medication for staying calm, and that of course is not something which you want to happen.
Keep an eye on your dog with regards to separation anxiety, especially in the coming weeks and months.
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