How to Recognize Separation Anxiety in Dogs

It is very important to recognize separation anxiety in dogs early in their lives. Proper treatment for this condition is necessary to ensure not only the emotional health of the animal, but its physical health as well.

Separation anxiety in dogs manifests as a believed threat to the animal. This causes a portion of the brain tissues, called the hypothalamus, to call for the body to produce chemicals in preparation of fight or flight. While this is an important stimulus for real danger, in a dog with high anxiety, it can cause internal problems.

When the chemical of self-defense is activated often, it can lead to depression. Because the chemicals are used by the body more often than they are designed to be, this may weaken the immune system, and this can bring on heart disease.

Anxieties in dogs are seen as phobias for either known or unknown causes. Loud noises and thunderstorms are indicative of a phobia about sounds. Separation anxiety in dogs does not always present a known phobia, but stems from the insecurity of not knowing what will happen when the person in charge is gone.

It is easy to identify separation anxiety in dogs because of how animals react to being left with unfamiliar people or being alone. A dog that becomes very anxious and active when the person who they consider their master is getting ready to go is obviously afraid of separation. If the dog tries to get out the door and into the car when the owner is leaving, it has an extreme separation anxiety.

The last key to identifying separation anxiety in dogs concerns how the dogs act when their masters return. If they seem happy and excited, jumping on the returning individuals, it is another definite indication that they have separation anxiety.