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Woof Wednesday: Doggy Moans, Groans & Being Alone

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Dogs and cats with separation anxiety "act out" their angst in different ways.

When a dog or cat can’t bear to be left alone they may “act out” and damage your belongings, or even hurt themselves. These pets aren’t chewing up furniture, defecating on the bed, or breaking through glass windows to “get back at you.” Think of separation anxiety as a form of grief. Cats and dogs miss you so much they can’t help themselves.

Problems develop when the amount of time you spend with the pet changes, maybe due to a new job schedule or baby. Cats may not have problems for years, but often act out when owners go on vacation.

About 14 percent of pet dogs seen in veterinary clinics suffer from separation anxiety. Mixed breeds and dogs adopted from shelters or the streets are most commonly affected, and aging dogs (10 years and older) or puppies adopted before 8 weeks of age also have a higher incidence. Here are tips for soothing separation anxiety in my latest Paw Nation article.

Dogs that feel fearful often yelp, howl or otherwise cry out for help. But what about moans and groans? Do they mean the same thing–even pleasure? What sorts of sounds does your pooch make when he’s enjoying himself? Perhaps he enjoys having his ears rubbed and expresses his pleasure, as in this Ask Amy video. What other ways do your dogs have to express themselves?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

4 responses »

  1. Oh, Amy….I have horrible separation anxiety when I leave my pets. I convince myself of all the sad & horrible things they are saying to me when I look into their eyes. My guy thinks that I’m crazy! Thank you for making me feel better….

    • What a great comment–not that the post helped (although I’m glad!) but that OWNERS can have separation anxiety from their fur-kids. Love it! Food for thought and another blog, Tiffany. Oh, and you are not the only one feels that way. *s*

  2. The part about dogs in Shelters suffering from separation anxiety breaks my heart. Every animal my wife & I have had has been from a shelter. It’s heartbreaking that so many of them don’t get adopted!

    • Bless your heart for adopting shelter pets! Yes, there are so many wonderful fur-kids waiting for homes. For those that have been relinquished to shelters it’s understandable they’d be more sensitive to being left alone. *sigh* Thanks for your comments and visiting the blog.


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