Wednesday Sep 21, 2022

Shih Tzu Separation Anxiety Symptoms

Shih Tzu Separation Anxiety Symptoms

What is separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety is when your Shih Tzu becomes extremely distressed or anxious whenever they are left alone. It can manifest itself in some pretty destructive behaviors.

For example, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety you may come home to find that they have chewed through doors and cabinets while you were at work.

Shih Tzu Separation Anxiety Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Shih Tzu separation anxiety?

There are a number of signs that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. These include:

Barking and howling when left alone: The barking can become constant and incessant and it will be very difficult to distract them once they have started. If you try to touch or play with the dog during this time they may become aggressive. They are clearly very distressed and need you to come home as soon as possible!

Begging for you to stay: The dog will beg, follow you around, cry at your feet or just sit looking expectantly at the door waiting for you. This is probably the most obvious sign that something is wrong.

Chewing and destructive behavior: The dog could be chewing through doors, walls and even furniture to try and get your attention or make a way for it to escape.

Anxiety and depression: If the Shih Tzu is suffering from separation anxiety they will often become depressed when you leave them which can mean that they sleep for hours at a time.

Puddles in the house: A dog that suffers from separation anxiety may not be able to control its bladders when you are gone which can result in puddles being left all over your floor.

What causes Shih Tzu separation anxiety?

There are a number of possible reasons why your Shih Tzu may have developed separation anxiety. Some of the most common include:

If they were separated from their mother and siblings at too young an age then they may not have learned how to be alone properly.

If your dog was used to sleeping in bed or on a sofa with you before moving them into their own crate then it is likely that they will become distressed when you leave them alone.

If your dog was bullied by other dogs or an owner then they could have become anxious when left alone as it is another form of feeling threatened.

There may be medical reasons why the dog is suffering from separation anxiety, for example, if they are in pain or have a bladder infection.

What should I do if my Shih Tzu has separation anxiety?

Some dogs will need a short period of retraining but it is also possible that you Shih Tzu will benefit from medication. The first thing to do, if the symptoms are mild, would be to crate train your dog. You can find out more about this technique HERE. If the symptoms are more severe then you can read about the three forms of medication commonly used HERE.

Whichever treatment option you chose it is very important that you are patient and understanding with your dog. If separation anxiety has taken hold they are likely to be very distressed when they are left alone but rewarding them when they calm down will strengthen this good behavior.

It is also important that you do not give in to your dog when they are having a tantrum. If you go to them every time they bark, whine, or paw at the door then they will quickly learn that this behavior gets what they want. You need to make sure that you ignore any attention-seeking behavior and only reward good behavior with affection, praise, and a treat.

If the anxiety and depression are very severe or do not improve with other treatments then you can talk to your vet about prescribing medication such as anti-depressants. These should only ever be used as a last resort though as they can have some serious side effects which you should discuss with your own vet first.

It may seem as though your Shih Tzu is experiencing a lot of pain and distress when you leave them alone but if the anxiety does not improve then it may be better for both of you to have someone come in to look after them while you are away.

FAQs

How do I know if my Shih Tzu has separation anxiety?

The dog will beg, follow you around, cry at your feet or just sit looking expectantly at the door waiting for you. This is probably the most obvious sign that something is wrong.

What can I do to treat Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety?

There are a number of possible reasons why your Shih Tzu may have developed separation anxiety. Some of the most common include:

– An owner who is frequently gone for long periods of time

– Being bullied by other dogs or an owner

– A traumatic event such as a car accident

– Medical reasons such as pain or a bladder infection

There are three forms of medication commonly used to treat separation anxiety in Shih Tzu’s:

– Benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Klonopin

– Tricyclic antidepressant anti-depressants such as Anafranil

– Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) such as Prozac.

If the anxiety and depression are very severe or do not improve with other treatments then you can talk to your vet about prescribing medication such as anti-depressants. These should only ever be used as a last resort though as they can have some serious side effects which you should discuss with your own vet first.

How long does a Shih Tzu separation anxiety last?

An episode of separation anxiety can last from a few minutes to several hours and some dogs will not stop barking or whimpering during this time. If the episode is caused by an owner leaving the house then these types of episodes tend to be fairly short as Shih Tzu’s will usually get used to the owner’s new routine fairly quickly.

EndNote:

Separation anxiety is a serious problem that can cause a lot of distress but with patience and understanding, it is usually fairly easy to overcome. The most important thing to do if you notice that your Shih Tzu is showing signs of stress or anxiety when you leave the house would be to crate train them, as this will help them feel more secure when they are left alone. If the anxiety does not improve with other treatments then you can talk to your vet about prescribing medication such as anti-depressants.

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