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Ask A Vet: How To Relieve Anxiety in Pets During the Work Day

Photo via Krug6 on Flickr.com

Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on 7x7.com. They've enlisted their Co-President, Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, to answer your questions every week. Got a question for Dr. Scarlett? Ask away in the comments!

Q: What is a good way to relieve anxiety in pets during the work day, and good products that will help with this?
A: What kind of work day does your pet have?  I'm jealous--I can't get my dog to work at all. Kidding. It sounds like your pet is anxious while you're away at work and this hints at separation anxiety.  Many dogs won't eat or drink when their person leaves and some bark all day or exhibit barrier frustration ( like eating the door frame).  If your dog is barking and the neighbors are complaining I highly recommend investing in dog day care or a walker who can keep your dog out for most of the day while you work on the issue.  A dog barking all day will not make you any friends on your block! 

Ok, back to anxiety. Although separation anxiety is a special beast and is best treated by competent behaviorist, what helps decrease all kinds of anxiety is exercise. A tired dog is a relaxed dog. Also keep your dog on a regular exercise schedule--dogs dig structure.  In addition, you can add a D.A.P. collar to help for mild anxiety. But if your dog is destructive (to things or to relationships), then it’s time to see a professional for behavior modification and possibly some pharmaceutical help. 

Your dog misses you, so be sure to give him lots of love and attention when you are with him. Good Luck!

While we can’t answer all of the questions here, please feel free to ask us during our Friday Twitter Ask the Vet Chat. If your animal’s problem is of an immediate nature, please call your vet or you can reach the SF SPCA at 415-554-3030 to make an appointment.