Chicago, IL, October 27, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- It’s a problem many pet owners have encountered. When changes come to the household - a new baby, a new schedule, or a new home, for example - dogs change their behavior. And usually, the change isn’t for the better.
While it may seem that a dog is behaving badly in an effort to get attention, there could be more to the story. The change in behavior can often be attributed to a neurological distress response called canine separation anxiety – a condition seen in approximately 14 percent of dogs who visit veterinarians.
The good news is that separation anxiety is treatable. A simple form of medication can improve a pet’s behavior.
Chicago-area dog coach Ami Moore recently completed a course in which she learned about pet behavioral therapy and the effects that the administration of a drug called Clomicalm can have on a dog’s separation anxiety symptoms. The course was a training module for veterinary technicians provided by Novartis Animal Health and the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.
During the course, Ami Moore learned that separation anxiety in dogs can occur not only when the dog is separated from a loved one, but also during times of uncertainty and times when he or she senses that punishment may be looming.
The disorder is most commonly seen in young dogs, especially those who have been adopted from a shelter - and in older dogs, who become more dependent on their owners when their senses of hearing and sight begin to fade.
Signs of separation anxiety can include excessive howling, barking or whining; urinating or defecating inappropriately; destructive behavior such as chewing or digging; loss of appetite; excessive periods of inactivity; excessive licking, pacing or circling; hyper-salivation; and excessive attachment to an owner.
Clomicalm helps dogs by adjusting levels of mood-changing neurotransmitters in a dog’s brain – reducing distress and stimulating learning ability. The drug acts as an antidepressant, but it is not a sedative.
Improvement can usually be seen in a dog’s behavior in less than a month – sometimes within a few days.
Administration of the drug, which comes in the form of a beef-flavored tablet, is coupled with behavior modification techniques – something in which Moore specializes. Punishing a dog for behavior connected with separation anxiety is not recommended, as it will only increase anxiety.
Ami Moore is a Chicago dog behaviorist, dog coach, educator, speaker and author. Visit her Web site at www.dogwhispererchicago.com. Moore can be reached by calling 847-284-7760.