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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16083
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My dog is having very severe separation anxiety. We got her

Customer Question

My dog is having very severe separation anxiety. We got her when she was 7 weeks old (she's now 12), and she went from being with her litter mates to us. We had another puppy, her half sister who was three weeks older, that we got two weeks prior. We lost that dog about 18 months ago to cancer. Since then, Daisy has had extreme separation anxiety, but she does not get along with other dogs (she did get along with our other dog), so we haven't gotten a second dog, and she does not do well at a doggie day care. She howls, cries, and scratches at the door when we aren't there. Daisy is a 25-lb. beagle. We tried a thunder shirt, which didn't work at all and actually stressed her more and now play calming music, give her treats with melatonin in them, plug in a DAP scent device, have her wearing a calming (lavender scented) collar, and give her 50 mg of trazodone in the morning and evening (yes, all of those things at the same time). She has a history of epileptic episodes, but is not on medication for that, but her vet doesn't want to give her a stronger dose of the trazodone and is concerned about other anti-anxiety medication because they could trigger seizures. Any other suggestions?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Lisa replied 3 months ago.

Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question. Just like an in person consult, I have some questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible....

Is Daisy crate trained at all?

How much exercise does she get daily?

What is your routine right before you leave her in the house?

Is she food or treat motivated?

How often does she have seizures?

You've only used the plug in version of DAP?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Daisy has been crate trained since she was a puppy. But putting her in her crate when we leave, since this started, was disastrous. She tipped it on its side trying to get out and was extremely agitated when we got home.
We take her for at least two long walks each day (she loves hikes) and throw toys for her to chase when we are home.
I usually take her for her morning walk just before I leave for work, give her a treat, and scatter other treats for her to find. We tried food puzzles, but she lost interest after only a few days.
Her seizures are infrequent, but a couple have been severe.
Yes, I have only used the plug-in DAP. I am not aware of other forms.
Expert:  Lisa replied 3 months ago.

Great. Thanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.

It does sound like Daisy is dealing with some anxiety. It's actually not uncommon for a dog to develop this kind of behavior as they age.

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 or even begin using the bathroom in the house to cope with their feeling of being alone

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 veterniary behavorist (ACVB) or certified applied animal behaviorist. As 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:

Melantonin is an over-the-counter drug that can be used to treat some anxiety issues in dogs and I know that you're already using it in the treats, but sometimes using the actual pills rather than treat infused products works better. The dose you would give would be up to 3 mg given orally whenever necessary up to every 8 hours. More information can be found here: , which includes risks, warning signs to watch out for and other bits of useful information.

Try a DAP collar instead of the plug-in. These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appeasing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It's something that 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 can also find them online at places like 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 anxiety 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.

You could also look into getting a stronger crate/kennel for her. I work with power breeds and have fallen in love with this crate: They're sort of like the Alcatraz of dog kennels. If the 100 pound Presa Canario I'm working with can't get out of it or tip it over, I'm sure Daisy can't either.

I hope this helps.

Expert:  Lisa replied 3 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about Daisy. How is everything going?


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