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ERPetNurse, Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 11619
Experience:  Vet tech 25 years
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I have an older dog (8 yrs) who has such separation anxiety

Customer Question

I have an older dog (8 yrs) who has such separation anxiety that he can't be left alone for more than a few minutes without terrific distress and self-destructive behavior. Is it too late to cure this, so that I can safely leave him at home for a couple of hours?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  ERPetNurse replied 2 years ago.
Hello I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Buddys human. My name is ***** ***** I have been a veterinary nurse for 26 years I would be happy to help
It is possible that this will resolve with time, however in Buddy's case we have to remember that he just lost the alpha member of his pack and you leaving can cause an already insecure dog to get worse.
This may take both training and medication to resolve. In some cases prescription medication is needed however Melatonine which can be purchased over the counter can also be effective.
If you want to try Melatonin ( check to make sure it does not contain xylitol) and the dose for a small dog would be 0.5-1mg 2-3 times per day. The following article covers the use of this supplement in more detail
Also try giving a stuffed kong toy that has been frozen when you leave. I make the following my for my shih-tzu
1 can of high quality canned food or 1 1/2 cup of his kibble moistened
1/2 cup blueberries or raw carrots
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon of molasses
Fill the kong and place in the freezer over night. You can use any mix that you think he will like. The above will fill a small kong 3-4 times. Give this when ever you leave the house. Not only will this help to keep him busy while you are away but it will also make him see that he gets a special treat when you leave( do not give these at any other time)
I would also try a pheromone collar. These collars release calming pheromones. These can be purchased at most pet stores or online. Sentry brand is one that works well and is less expensive then some of the others.
Try leaving him for small amounts of time 5-10 minutes increasing this time each day.If you are gone for long periods due to work then it may be worth seeing if you can have a dog walker come in during the day for a month or two.
I would try the above for a week or two and if you see no difference then you may want to discuss and anti anxiety med with your vet.
I hope this helps give you some things to try. Please reply back if you have additional questions and I will be happy to help. If you have no additional questions, please take a few minutes to provide a rating before exiting the site so I am compensated by Justanswer for assisting you.