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Separation Anxiety Myths

Separation anxiety in dogs is a common behavioural issue that many pet owners face. It is characterised by excessive distress and anxiety when a dog is left alone or separated from their owner. While separation anxiety is a real and serious problem, there are many myths surrounding this condition that can lead to confusion and misinformation. In this blog post, we will debunk some of the most common myths about separation anxiety in dogs.


Myth 1: Only rescue dogs suffer from separation anxiety


One of the most pervasive myths about separation anxiety in dogs is that only rescue dogs or those with traumatic pasts experience this condition. In reality, separation anxiety can affect any dog, regardless of their background or history. Dogs can develop separation anxiety for a variety of reasons, including genetics, early socialisation experiences, or changes in their environment. It is important for pet owners to recognise the signs of separation anxiety and seek help from a professional if their dog is exhibiting symptoms.


Myth 2: Separation anxiety is just a phase that dogs will grow out of


Another common myth about separation anxiety is that it is just a phase that dogs will eventually grow out of. While some dogs may outgrow their separation anxiety with proper training and management, many dogs require ongoing support and treatment to manage their symptoms. Ignoring separation anxiety or hoping that it will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms and increased distress for the dog. 


Myth 3: Crating a dog will cure separation anxiety


Some pet owners believe that crating their dog while they are away will cure their separation anxiety. While crates can provide a safe and secure space for some dogs, they are not a cure for separation anxiety. In fact, crating a dog with separation anxiety can exacerbate their symptoms and increase their distress. Dogs with separation anxiety may become more anxious and agitated when confined to a crate, leading to destructive behaviour or escape attempts. 


Myth 4: Getting another dog will help with separation anxiety


Many pet owners believe that getting another dog will help to alleviate their dog's separation anxiety. While some dogs may benefit from having a companion, adding another dog to the household is not a guaranteed solution for separation anxiety. In some cases, a second dog can actually worsen the symptoms of separation anxiety by increasing competition for attention and resources. 


Myth 5: You created your dog’s separation anxiety 


Some people believe that allowing dogs to sleep in beds with their owners, allowing them on the sofa and showering them with love and affection will cause separation anxiety. Contrary to this belief, treating dogs with kindness and love will allow dogs to feel safe and secure. The actual cause of separation anxiety is still unknown. There are some contributing factors including genetics, early life experiences, health issues and life changes but loving a dog is not one of them. Owners of dogs with separation anxiety feel enough guilt already and do not need to be made to feel worse by this very common misconception.


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