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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 28967
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Here with my 9 yr old Aussie. He has no energy and is

Customer Question

here with my 9 yr old Aussie. He has no energy and is sleeping more than usual. I checked his stool and it looks normal but some dark and some light. He's craving grass but eats his dry food fine. He doesn't want to play or chew his rawhide. Just took him to the vet for his yearly check up and they said he looks fine??
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: My sister takes care of him during the day when I'm at work and she's noticed the same thing. I was out of town working for 3 days last week and I know he stresses more when I'm gone and he can't go with me. Do you think separation anxiety would contribute to his symptoms?
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Lethargy and somnolence (sleepiness) are important signs but they're not pathognomonic for any one particular disorder. Eating nondigestible greens suggests gastrointestinal distress. It appears to be of evolutionary benefit because it often results in vomiting which then empties the stomach of nondigestibles and infectious agents. That behavior shouldn't be encouraged, however, as the grass will only irriate his GI tract further. The color of his stools is within normal limits.

To answer you directly, separation anxiety isn't a likely etiology for his symptoms. Common features of this type of anxiety include a pet who is hyperattached to the owner. The pet shows signs of anxiety as the owner leaves. The problem behaviors usually only occur when the owners are absent or when the pets can't gain access to the owners when they're at home. The anxious behaviors begin very shortly after the owner leaves and may occur even during very short absences by the owners. The pet shows exaggerated greeting behavior.

If his behavior has persisted for more than 3 days, it would be prudent to have him rechecked by the same vet who saw him recently for his yearly check up. That vet is the best resource for recognizing a subtle change in your dog and best equipped to decide how to proceed - "watchful waiting" versus diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests, radiographs or ultrasound imaging. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.