With the loss of my husband, my dogs behaviors have changed. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Dorothy,

First, my sincere condolences on the loss of your husband seven months ago.

It sounds as though your dogs have developed a form of separation anxiety that possibly was brought on by the events surrounding the death of your husband.  They could perceive that when you (or someone they love) is out of their sight, that person is not safe.  It's not a rational fear, but what they may have deduced from those events.

Separation anxiety can be treated through behavior modification, pharmaceuticals or natural calming remedies--sometimes a combination of these.  Your veterinarian should examine the dogs as soon as possible. Share with your vet all the examples you can think of that trigger the barking or other unwanted behavior. He or she will be able to recommend a protocol of treatment. In severe cases, one should consult with a board certified veterinary behaviorist--similar to a human psychiatrist, but for animals.

The good news is that this anxiety can be successfully treated, but it will take time, dedication and consistency.

Please keep us posted on your progress. 


Written by:
Kristen Levine, pet lifestyle expert

April 09, 2013

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