Signs, causes, care, and treatment for dogs with separation anxiety.
Takeuchi Y, Houpt KA, Scarlett JM. Evaluation of treatments for separation anxiety in dogs. . 2000;217(3):342–345.
If the dog is not too anxious when presented with departure cues, or once habituation to departure cues has occurred, the owner is ready to begin graduated planned departures. Using short departures, we attempt to desensitize the dog to the owner leaving and being gone. These departures are as much like real departures as possible with two exceptions. First, the departures are going to initially be very short. Second, as the owner departs they leave a new and consistent cue or signal for the dog. In other words, the owner must make this departure look just like the real thing, if they always take their car keys and briefcase when they go then they must do so on a planned departure. If they always leave in their car, they must drive away. Then the initial departure will be very short, 1-5 minutes or less so that the dog does not engage in any separation related behaviors. If possible, the dog should be left in a novel location perhaps the place the owner would like to leave the dog if it did not engage in separation related distress behaviors. The message we want to send to the dog "the owner is only gone for a short time, they are coming right back and I can be good". The length of the departure is slowly increased at 3-5 minute intervals with short departures interspersed with longer ones. The increase must be irregular, not a progression. The new cue is only used on a planned departure, when the owner must be gone for long periods of time. If the dog is destructive or engaged in any separation-related behaviors during a planned departure, then the owner was gone too long and the next departure should be shorter. For dogs that vocalize on owner departure, an audiotape should be set to monitor the pet's behavior. Owners must keep initial departures short enough so as not to elicit separation distress. When desensitization is done improperly, sensitization can occur and the problem behavior worsens. Usually once a dog can be left on a planned departure for 2 hours, they can usually be left all day. The cue or signal can be gradually phased out, or can be used for as long as the owner feels it is necessary. Most importantly, the owner cannot quickly go from a 20 minute planned departure to a 3 hour one. This can elicit separation-related distress and may render the cue useless. During training, owners should be encouraged to keep journals to assess progress and treatment success.
In a multicentre, double blinded placebo controlled clinical trial Clomipramine (Clomicalm®Novartis Animal Health) was shown to be an effective adjunct to behavioral therapy for separation anxiety. Clomipramine is more selective in action than other tricyclic antidepressants and primarily targets serotonin reuptake. Clomipramine was used at a dose of 1.0- 6 Clomicalm is contraindicated in dogs with known hypersensitivity to Clomipramine or other tricyclic antidepressants. Clomicalm should not be used in intact male breeding dogs. Clomicalm should not be given in combination with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (selegiline (l-deprenyl) or Amitraz) or within 14 days prior or after a treatment with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Clomicalm should not be used in dogs with histories of seizures or concurrently with drugs that lower the seizure threshold. The drug is for use in dogs suffering from separation anxiety that are greater than 6 months of age. The most common adverse reactions were vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Caution is advised in using Clomicalm with other CNS active drugs including general anesthetics and neuroleptics, anticholinergic and sympathomimetic drugs. Once the symptoms of separation anxiety have come under control, the dosage may gradually be decreased and/or discontinued.
Treatment Options for Separation Anxiety in Dogs | Petco
Treatment Options for Separation Anxiety in Dogs