Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Dogs are pack animals and social creatures. They form strong attachments to other dogs and people. With an increase in those who are gone for long hours and have a busy schedule, it’s important to help your dog stay alone. It is critical that your dog understand that your absences are tolerable and temporary.

Separation anxiety occurs in the first hour of your dog being left alone. Keep in mind that your dog’s dependence on you is significant, and it is likely to cause anxiety when you leave. Although this might be flattering, it’s not fair to your dog to be so stressed by your absence. Signs of separation anxiety occur when your dog is prevented from being close to you. Like people, dogs cannot stay in an uncomfortable state of anxiety for too long, and will resort to doing anything to reduce the tension.

Here are some circumstances in which separation anxiety can occur:

  • Too strong of an attachment to one person.
  • Separation from his mother and littermates.
  • Owners who let their dog follow them wherever they go and who bring their dog everywhere they go.
  • A very exciting departure and welcome.

Here are some signs of dogs trying to reduce their separation anxiety:

  • Destruction, digging, chewing, or excessive vocalization.
  • Hyperactivity, depression, or aggression.
  • Diarrhea/vomiting, urination/defecation.

How to help you and your dog cope:

  • If all else fails, ask your veterinarian about drug therapy. A good anti-anxiety medication shouldn’t sedate your dog, but simply reduce his overall anxiety.
  • Take your dog to a doggie day care facility or kennel when you have to be away.
  • Leave your dog with a friend, family member, or neighbor when you’re away, or use a pet sitter.
  • Take your dog to work with you, if possible.
  • Use a pet door in conjunction with an invisible fence so your dog can get out of the house and run around. This will help him burn off some energy and anxiety..

How to treat separation anxiety:

  • Ignore your dog when leaving.
  • Mix the leaving routes (the back door, garage, and so on).
  • Practice false departures.
  • When you return, be as calm as possible. Do not display any excited behavior or rewards.

What won’t help:

  • Punishment. Punishment isn’t effective for treating separation anxiety and can make the situation worse.
  • Another dog. Getting your dog a companion usually doesn’t help an anxious dog because his anxiety is the result of his separation from you, and not just the result of being alone.
  • Crating. Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses inside a crate, and he may urinate, defecate, howl, or even injure himself in an attempt to escape. Instead, create other kinds of “safe places” for your dog.
  • Obedience training. While formal training is always a good idea, separation anxiety isn’t the result of disobedience or lack of training.

Here are some other tips:

  • Leave clothes with your scent on them around the house.
  • If your dog is left outside, hang an old bike tire, a bunch of dish rags knotted together, or a shoe from a tree so that your dog can play with them. Do not use a leash or tie-out, this can injure your pet when you are gone. It is better to use an underground dog fence or wireless dog fence to contain your dog safely.
  • Put the radio on a talk station and leave it on while you’re gone. The noise muffles any other kinds of sounds your dog might worry about and it’s comforting. He hears the same sounds as when you are home.

It’s not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others don’t. But it’s essential that you be as understanding as possible of your dog’s behavior. He needs your help with finding the best solution to alleviate the tension of your being gone and of him being alone.

How Often Does Your New Puppy Need to Go Out?

The rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold her urine for the number of hours that correspond to her age in months, plus one. So a two month old puppy can hold it for three hours (2+1). Keep in mind this is the maximum time she can hold it but she may feel the urge before that. If you are unable to let your puppy out at the required time, you may want to consider using a dog crate to protect your carpeting and other belongings.

Dogs Working in Haiti

The rescue efforts in Haiti wouldn’t be possible without the work of search dogs. That’s a fact. Every day, TV news programs show video of dogs sniffing through the rubble for the sounds of people breathing or calling out for help.

One dog, a Border Collie named Hunter, and his firefighter owner, Bill Monahan, located three girls who had been trapped alive in the devastating earthquake. They were combing through an area near the Presidential Palace when Hunter detected the survivors’ scent under four feet of rubble.

Hunter alerted Monahan using a “bark alert,” and a rescue crew from California Task Force 2 dug out the girls and provided them with immediate first-aid.

Hunter and Monahan were trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, a nonprofit organization that partners rescued dogs with firefighters and trains them to find survivors from natural disasters.

Hunter and Monahan did great work in Haiti. Another reason we love dogs so much.

Report: U.S. Pet Product and Service Sales Up 4.8%

U.S. sales of pet products and services increased 4.8 percent to $54 billion in 2009, according to a report released Jan. 19 by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

“True to the market’s ‘recession resistant’ claim to fame, sales of all pet products and services rose 4.8 percent in 2009 to reach $53 billion, meaning that the market added $2.5 billion in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” states the report, “Pet Supplies and Pet Care Products in the U.S., 8th Edition: Pet Health and Pampering: The New Value Equation.”

Sales of veterinarian services increased the most at nearly 10 percent, followed by pet food at 5 percent, other pet services at 4 percent and non-food pet supplies (which includes grooming products and bedding) at 3 percent, according to Packaged Facts.

The human-animal bond played a particularly important role in insulating the industry from recessionary cutbacks, according to Packaged Facts. The company pointed to an informal survey in which the majority of U.S. pet owners indicated that they value the comfort and security their pets offer more than ever. Packaged Facts suggested that this means pet owners are willing to invest in goods directly beneficial to their pets’ health, such as natural and organic pet supplements, heated pet beds and dog toys.

Premium demographics are also significant contributors insulating the market, because wealthier households are less likely to feel the financial pinch of a downturn as quickly or intensely, according to Packaged Facts. In addition, the company noted that wealthier consumers are more likely to read labels and pay attention to health claims. As a result, this group is said to consider higher priced products as worth the extra money.

Packaged Facts cited the growing clout of premium demographics as an indication of the success pet supply marketers have had in tapping into pet owners’ willingness and desire to pamper their pets with the healthiest products available.

Chow Chow

A powerful, sturdy dog of Arctic type, medium in size and muscular with heavy bone, the Chow Chow is an ancient breed of northern Chinese origin. While the breed was originally a working dog, he primarily serves as a companion today and is seen in show rings across the country. This lion-like, regal breed comes in five colors – red, black, blue, cinnamon and cream – and is known for its blue/black tongue and stilted gait. Their coats can also be either rough or smooth.

The true origin of the Chow is unknown, but the breed as it is known today is easily recognizable in pottery and sculptures of the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 22 A.D.). An all-purpose dog used for hunting, herding, pulling and protection of the home, some scholars claim the Chow was the original ancestor of the Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, Pomeranian and Keeshond.

Affectionate and devoted to family, the Chow is reserved and discerning with strangers. Their cat-like personalities make them independent, stubborn and less eager to please than other breeds. They require early socialization and training, and some kind of exercise daily. Regular grooming and bathing is a must to maintain their double coats.

  • Non-Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 1903.
  • Ranging in size from 17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Hunter; guard dog.
  • Size: 40-70 pounds
  • Coats & Colors: Coats: rough or smooth
  • Colors: black, blue, cinnamon, cream, red