Pet playmate

June 11th, 2013

Dear Dogs Life,

Can separation anxiety in dogs be helped by having a second dog?

– Megan Stuart, via Facebook

Dr Kersti Seksel says: Most dogs that experience separation anxiety are worried about being separated from their owners or people, rather than being left home alone. Therefore, in most cases, getting another dog will not help your dog with separation anxiety. Only 10–15 per cent of dogs will be less anxious in the presence of a companion dog.

In some cases having a canine companion may help, but before you rush out to get another dog, think carefully if YOU want another dog. You may end up with double trouble — that is, two dogs that have issues, or worse still, do not like one another. It is always best to resolve the first dog’s anxiety before embarking on another dog.

Separation anxiety is a complex medical problem which often involves an imbalance of neurochemicals in the brain. Every dog is unique and will require a different management strategy. Leaving food treats in your absence or using the calming pheromone ADAPTIL™ may be beneficial for some pets. It is also good to make sure you interact with your pet calmly when leaving the house and arriving home. Some pets require medication to adequately manage their anxiety. If you are concerned about separation anxiety, speak to your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviourist.

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