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For humans, spring break is a time to travel, see family, and have a well-deserved vacation. For dogs, this time of year can mean panic and instability while their loved ones are gone.  At its core, Separation Anxiety is heart-breaking - your dog is certain you are not coming back.


1 in 6 dogs suffers from Separation AnxietyWhile it can come in many forms, most dogs generally exhibit a range of symptoms, including:

  • House-soiling
  • Destruction localized at points of exit
  • Excessive and prolonged vocalization
  • Self-injury, such as wounded paws
  • Extreme over-grooming
  • Anorexia and/or an inability to drink while alone
  • Extreme attachment-anxiety focused on one person within the household


Diagnosis and Treatment 

Separation Anxiety should always be diagnosed by your veterinarian or a certified professional dog trainer. Oftentimes, owners are quick to diagnose their dog with Separation Anxiety when behaviors are the result of boredom and under-stimulation. Since the domestic dog has adapted to be in close social contact with people, the recent advance into a modern culture of 10-hour workdays and long trips has left our furry friends in need of our help and compassion.  


If you believe your dog has mild Separation Anxiety, boost his mental stimulation with food toys such as Kongs® or Premier Busy Buddies® while he is alone and consider breaking up his day with a dog walker or daycare. Provide him outlets for social activity with regular outings to new environments, fun training classes such as Agility, and quality time with you. Reward calm behaviors, allow him activities independent from you, and above all, ask for help if you need it!  


At Pets Unlimited, our Behavior Consultation program offers one-on-one discussion with a certified professional dog trainer along with a customized treatment plan to help both of you get on the road to healing. With a little legwork and a lot of compassion, your dog can be happy, safe, and content in his own home. And most importantly, he'll know his favorite people will always come back.  If you believe your dog is suffering from Separation Anxiety and would like to schedule a Behavior Consultation, please email our consultants at behavior@petsunlimited.org.  



Shelter Animals with Separation Anxiety  

Throughout our history, we have assisted and successfully placed many dogs that suffer from Separation Anxiety in homes prepped and ready for training. During their time in our program, our staff dedicates long hours to exercise, alone-training drills, and enrichment to get them started in the right direction.  Yen, Lychee, Alton, Thelma - all of these sweet, sensitive dogs are thriving in their new homes. And while we'd love to toot our own horn, the praise truly belongs to those loyal, loving guardians who showed their dogs that they will always return to them.  


If you would like to help our shelter dogs feel more at home while they await their new families, please check out our Canine Enrichment Amazon Wish List for much-needed training supplies.     


Warm Wishes,

Your Friends at Pets Unlimited

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