Separation Anxiety

Canines and felines experience separation anxiety for very different reasons and exhibit very different symptoms. Cats may feel anxious after being separated from their mother, from early weaning, or when purchased from a pet store. A dog might begin experiencing separation anxiety after a change in ownership or a serious alteration in their owner’s routine or schedule. Shelter dogs also experience anxiety, because rescue animals live in constant fear of abandonment. Some degree of separation anxiety is estimated to occur in about 30% of all dogs, making it one of the most prevalent disorders among canines; however, it is so uncommon in cats that until recently, it was thought to be non-existent.

To eliminate the fears of separation anxiety, gradual behavior modification is necessary. With the help of our staff and your dedication and commitment, we can build a treatment plan that helps your pet enjoy or tolerate being left alone, easing their grief and yours.

Indications of a dog with separation anxiety:

  • Barking or howling when owner leaves
  • Chewing up things in owner’s absence
  • Consuming feces only in owner’s absence
  • Digging in owner’s absence
  • Dog is overly excited when owner gets home
  • Escaping confinement when owner isn’t present
  • Exhibiting obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Need to be by owner’s side constantly

Symptoms of a cat with separation anxiety: 

  • Having “accidents” outside of the litter box in their owner’s absence
  • Hiding in owner’s absence
  • Needing to be in owner’s presence
  • Refusing to eat
  • Vomiting in owner’s absence

Treatment options for separation anxiety:

Persistence with any treatment plan is critical. Working alongside our veterinarian, we can form a customized behavior modification plan that allows you to gradually train your pet to be self-sufficient, calming their anxiety. In cases of moderate-to-severe separation anxiety, we might suggest prescription medication to supplement training. Prescriptions will be tapered off once pets start to show improvements in behavior and begin accepting the training process.

For severe canine separation anxiety, we recommend pet owners taking their dogs to a doggie daycare or hiring a pet sitter. Many times having some attention, even if it isn’t from the pet owner, takes a dog’s mind off of the owner being away. While the cost of a caregiver can be expensive, it could potentially outweigh the cost of expensive damage caused by an anxious dog left alone.

No matter the case, punishment should never be used on a pet with separation anxiety. This will only increase their anxiety and cause them to act out more. Similarly, frantic, hyper pets should never be awarded with attention immediately after an owner gets home; let pets settle down before rewarding them with attention, letting them know that they will only receive acknowledgement when they are calm and quiet.

If you have questions regarding separation anxiety or would like to enroll your pet in behavior modification classes, please contact our veterinary office at your convenience.


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Here's a vet that still cares.
Just wanted to say I love Dr. Petcu's staff and his compassionate , caring way of taking care of my dogs.The staff is not only friendly and professional ,they know who you are when you arrive ,and they actually love animals. Is the first Animal Hospital that my dogs are at ease and feel comfortable.The place is very clean and the reception area very elegant and inviting. Exquisite services and Dr. Petcu always take his time to explain the disease and options and still finds time to play with my dogs. He's always treated both his animal and human patients with compassion and dignity,and would never recommend procedures unless he truly feels your pet will benefit from it. One of the vets that cares for your pet. The prices are reasonable and the services exceed all expectations. I Highly recommend Dr.Petcu and his hospital.

Reba S

Western Animal Hospital AMAZING! Western Animal Hospital is the best place in the valley .The staff is professional, friendly, caring and accommodating. The hospital is very clean and upscale. The customer service and the provided services are outstanding.Dr. Petcu is one of the most professional veterinarians that i have ever met in my 25 years of pet parenting. I drive across the valley just to see him( i live in Anthem) .He really cares about his animal patients and it shows in every visits . He is very knowledgeable , compassionate, friendly and always takes the time to answer any question i have and explaining in detail any situation we are dealing with. I had my share of visits to many animal hospitals in the valley but none of them had the last technology as Western - digital X-ray ( they send you home with a cd for you x-ray records ) every room has a computer monitor where the x-ray shows and Dr. Petcu can review with me every detail of it. Also they have the laser surgery and digital dental x-ray. Dr. petcu is one of the most
courteous and pleasant Vets I have ever met. The prices are more than reasonable and also they try to accommodate everybody. I cannot recommend them enough. You can rest easy knowing your pets are in their care.I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOSPITAL - THEY HAVE A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE IN ME! very good !

Betty K

Western Animal Hospital this doctor is making a lot of sense and will explain everything in details..
prices are great ....

.the best vet I met !! Pam M. 5 Western Animal Hospital - we are bringing our pets to Dr Petcu for 8 years. He was always helpful, many times we did not have the funds to treat our pets but he was fine with us paying when we had the money. He saved our cats in many instances and all I have to say is that I greatly reccomend Western Animal Hospital for any responsable pet owner .

Yolanda M

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