Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Medications Might Help
Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before
giving your dog any type of medication for a behavior problem.
The use of medications can be very helpful, especially for severe cases of
separation anxiety. Some dogs are so distraught by any separation from their
pet parents that treatment can’t be implemented without the help of medication.
Anti-anxiety medication can help a dog tolerate some level of isolation without
experiencing anxiety. It can also make treatment progress more
On rare occasions, a dog with mild separation anxiety might benefit from
drug therapy alone, without accompanying behavior modification. The dog becomes
accustomed to being left alone with the help of the drug and retains this new
conditioning after he’s gradually weaned off the medication. However, most dogs
need a combination of medication and behavior modification.
If you’d like to explore this option, speak with your veterinarian, a
veterinary behaviorist or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who can work
closely with your vet. Please see our article, Finding Professional
Help, to locate one of these professionals in your area.
What NOT to Do
Do not scold or punish your dog. Anxious behaviors are not the result of
disobedience or spite. They are distress responses! Your dog displays
anxious behaviors when left alone because he’s upset and trying to cope with a
great deal of stress. If you punish him, he may become even more upset
and the problem could get much worse.