Separation Anxiety………….the Post Corona After Effect

Finally, the time has come to post something on our page other than updated Covid 19 protocols. Hurray for that!!! I’m certain that many of you are aware that during the last several months families have added pets to their households in record numbers. While this is great news for shelters, rescues and breeders alike, one thing is clear. The amount of time we spend with our four legged family members has increased dramatically. While this is a wonderful thing for our own mental health, it will likely predispose some of these pets to undesirable habits and behaviors as we go back to work in an office or other location. While the term Separation Anxiety is frequently used in a generic sense, mal- adaptive behavior can vary greatly from pet to pet when they are lonely. The following are a few of the signs that separation anxiety may be an issue as your pet experience your increasing absence. 1. Destructive behavior. This includes chewing, scratching, trashcan diving, toilet tissue unraveling, counter surfing as well as a host of other mal-adaptive behaviors. 2. Vocalizing upon being left in an empty house regardless of whether kenneled or not. 3. Inappropriate urination, defecation, urine marking. Contrary to popular belief, this is not done “to spite” your leaving but rather a sign of anxiety. 4. Extreme agitation, restlessness, nipping, upset prior to your departure when signs of your departure are imminent. 5. Rebellious behavior upon returning from a walk if it is typically followed by your leaving. 6. Not eating, pickiness, change in eating behavior could signal a sign of anxiety. 7. Lack of desire for interaction or aloofness by your animal companion upon your return home or presence in the house. It would take volumes to identify all of the behaviors that are associated with separation anxiety. Even though there are medications and behavioral modification methods that can help, as in most conditions prevention is always easier than the cure. In the follow up post we will outline some of the steps that can be taken to help prevent and/or treat this anxiety disorder.