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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?

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