Believe it or not, pets get lonely too! In simple terms, separation anxiety is a dislike or discomfort with solitude, and is commonly seen when pet parents leave their babies alone for extended amounts of time. Because it is fairly common, we recommend having basic background knowledge in case your babies, or your friends’ babies, ever experience similar challenges.
Veterinarians estimate that 20 to 40% of all dog behavior issues in the U.S. stem from separation anxiety alone. Common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include behaviors like excessive howling or drooling and destruction of household items.
We’ve all heard stories about separation anxiety in dogs, but did you know cats can struggle with it too? While we usually think of cats as solitary creatures, especially compared to pack-loving dogs, there are tons of cats who love socializing and love “their people.” While less common, it’s just as important to know the potential symptoms in cats, which include unusual urination, changing eating patterns, and displays of aggression when the owner returns from extended time away.
There are a variety of treatment options for separation anxiety in both dogs and cats, but most vets suggest trying behavior alterations first.
Every animal is unique, and in some cases, behavior alterations simply aren’t enough. In partnership with your vet, you can look into prescription options. Anti-anxiety medications might be the best option for your family, but it is important to use these alongside behavior alterations; they should never take the place of these modifications. Of course, as always, The Village Pets, Pet Sitting and Pet Care recommends consulting your veterinarian first and foremost before trying to diagnose any of these behaviors at home!
Want to learn more? Check out Manhattan-based veterinarian Arnold Plotnick’s double-whammy experience with separation anxiety here.
For cat-specific resources, check out CatHealth.com and for dog-specific information, check out the ASPCA.
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