Canine Separation Anxiety Symptoms And Cures

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Canine Separation Anxiety
Canine Separation Anxiety Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Aromatherapy and Dog Appeasement Pheromones

Dogs obviously have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. Many people believe that, because of this heightened connection between scent and environment, aromatherapy is more effective for dogs than people. It’s a relatively simple undertaking. Try using a diffuser or plug in air freshener to spread calming scents such as lavender throughout the house. If nothing else, this may work to calm the dog owner.

A more targeted approach to using scent to calm your dog is to use DAP or dog appeasement pheromones. These pheromones imitate the scent of a nursing mother dog. Since this scent is universally pleasant and calming, some dogs take a cue from the scent and peacefully sleep or relax. The pheromone comes in many forms including a plug infuser, a spray, and even a collar.

Reviews of these products seem to report either extreme success or absolutely zero impact, so be aware that the results vary quite a bit, depending on the pup.

Anti-bark Citronella Collars

If the dog’s primary negative behavior is excessive barking for the duration of his owner’s absence, then specific anti-barking measures may need to be taken. One such measure includes anti-bark citronella collars. These collars consist of a battery-operated pack that is full of citronella.  The pack is attached to a webbing collar that is placed around the dog's neck. The vibrations from the dog's bark will set the collar off.  The collar sends a spurt of citronella which works to harmlessly startle the dog into silence.  Dogs seem to quickly gather that a bark will result in a cloud of citronella to the face.

These collars can be somewhat expensive, and they tend to work best for medium to large dogs with medium to short coats. The collar may be too large or heavy for very small dogs. Dogs with very long or thick coats may have too much fur between them and the collar, in which case the vibration of the bark will not activate the collar. Also, be sensitive to the fact that this sort of collar may be especially terrifying for certain anxious dogs. Some dogs with extreme sensitivity may also be allergic to the citronella. Expense and special considerations aside, for the right dog, these collars can be a very quick and easy fix to a barking problem due to separation anxiety.


Medication

Even a few short years ago, medicating Fido to help him deal with his separation anxiety issues would have been a joke. Now, in the age of pharmaceuticals for every issue and ailment, dogs have been welcomed into the medication fold. Most pet owners are understandably reluctant to medicate their dogs. Many dog owners consider medication to be an extreme step that should be turned to only as a last resort. However, in cases were no amount of redirection or training is effective, medication may be a last chance at keeping some dogs in safe and happy homes with their owner.

If a prescription seems too drastic, look into giving the dog some form of melatonin to calm his anxiety. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain of mammals.  Melatonin is thought to help regulate the natural rhythms of sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin is available in many forms including pills and even treats. Look for melatonin at grocery or drug stores. Melatonin products made especially for dogs can be found at pet stores.

Some holistic vets recommend using a valerian formula for dogs. Valerian is an herb that is used for treating nervousness and anxiety.  You can also purchase “calming collars” for dogs, which are collars filled with calming herbs, or put calming herbs in your dog’s water.

When it comes to prescription anti-anxiety medications for dogs, there are two main players commonly used by vets: Clomicalm and Reconcile. Clomicalm is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and is used in humans for treating obsessive compulsive disorder. It is similar to medications for humans such as Prozac.  You may have heard of this medication being referred to as doggy Prozac.

The active ingredient in Clomicalm is clomipramine hydrochloride and it comes in tablet form, by prescription only.  If medication is used, it would be best to use in conjunction with behavior modification.

Reconcile is the newest drug treatment on the market and is manufactured by Eli Lilly Co. This is the first FDA drug approved specifically to treat separation anxiety in dogs.   The active ingredient, fluoxetine hydrochloride, is also the active ingredient in the human medication Prozac.  It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and is marketed as more specific for separation anxiety than Clomicalm

Obviously either of these medications or any others will need to be prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. Again, these medications work best when used in conjunction with training and behavior modification, so it’s probably best to try training and behavior modification first, and only resort to medication if necessary, as all drugs come with some side effects.

Canine Separation Anxiety Symptoms And Cures