Daily Question is excerpted from the JustAnswer archives and features information provided from an expert on JustAnswer.
Q: My dog (10-year-old boxer) has terrible anxiety whenever I leave him with a family member when my husband and I go on vacation. He gets terrible stomach pains (which are audible), and he also does not eat for a few days. Will this hurt him? He is normally well behaved and never leaves our side.
A: Some dogs develop destructive behaviors such as breaking through windows, destroying crates, chewing holes in walls and destroying sofas in their frantic efforts to cope with feelings of abandonment. Some other dogs may go on hunger strikes. Dogs with serious separation anxiety issues may need medication as well as behavior modification help from a professional dog behaviorist.
Look for a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (ACVB) or certified applied animal behaviorist. Ask for references from your vet. You need solid guidance from someone properly trained to assist you and your dog.
You might also want to consider using a product made specifically for dogs with anxiety. A couple of these things would be:
Melatonin. This over-the-counter drug can be used to treat some anxiety issues in dogs. The dose you would give would be up to 3mg given orally whenever necessary up to every 8 hours. More information can be found here, including risks, warning signs to watch for, and other useful facts.
DAP collar. These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appealing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It’s something the humans can’t smell, but it has an amazing effect on dogs with anxiety and other issues. Although you can find them at your vet’s office, you can also find them online at places like Amazon and eBay for much cheaper. Just make sure they’re DAP brand, as they seem to work better than some other versions.
When I’m working with an anxious dog, I generally start with the collar, and then add in the melatonin if I don’t see a change within a week or so.
– Answer provided by Lisa Lepak, veterinary technician and expert on JustAnswer.
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