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Separation anxiety in dogs commonly results in destructive or otherwise inappropriate behavior when an owner leaves the pet or is not in close proximity to it. Behaviors that may be seen include vocalization, destroying objects, digging, or even depression. 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.
Symptoms and Types
Separation anxiety causes some pets to be extremely destructive while their owners are away. Typically, separation anxiety occurs during the first hour of the owner leaving. They may also vocalize, attempt to follow the owner, or defecate or urinate in the house. Some dogs will stop eating, act depressed, hide, whine, or pant. These dogs will usually behave in an excessively excited manner when the owner returns home.
Other behavioral conditions may mimic separation anxiety, so it is important to analyze the symptoms and history of the dog. There may be underlying medical issues, so seeing a veterinarian is an important step. Also, young animals may have other reasons for similar behaviors. For example, teething kittens may need appropriate things to chew on or may not be fully housetrained and may not truly be experiencing separation anxiety.