Separation Anxiety in Pugs

"Are you leaving me?"

"Are you leaving me?"

Your pug may act out or behave strangely when you leave him home alone. Maybe Pugsly destroys your shoes or greets you frantically upon your return. If so, he may be suffering from separation anxiety, a rare but treatable condition.

Causes

Separation anxiety can occur when your pooch is left home alone. While not all pugs suffer from this condition, it is more likely to occur when there has been a sudden change in your household routine. If Mr. Wrinkles has always had constant companionship, he may become anxious when left alone for the first time. Anxious behaviors are also often a result of your pug's personality. If your pug is very social, he may be more likely to be upset when you leave. An older pug who has had many homes in his lifetime might also exhibit separation anxiety. This lack of routine may make him more anxious than a pug who has always lived in the same home. This condition does not suddenly appear overnight. Separation anxiety usually escalates over time in pugs, from simple boredom to full-blown destructive behavior.

Diagnosis

Any of the following behaviors could indicate that Nell is not herself when you are away: excessive barking or whining; salivation; urination or defecation indoors; chewing or destroying items in your home. You may also notice that your pug is generally more clingy when you are at home. She may be licking himself more often, and this could result in hotspots underneath her fur. Nell might also be eating less due to a loss of appetite from her anxious feelings. The worst symptom is a panic attack. When nervous, pugs can quickly work themselves up and end up with labored breathing and an incredibly high heart rate. This type of response should be dealt with immediately, as it is potentially life threatening.

Solutions

When you leave and return home, do not put on a big show or treat your pug any differently than you would if you had been home all day. A simple "goodbye" or "hello" shows your pug that there is no cause for alarm. It is also helpful to keep your pooch pre-occupied when you leave. You can leave Sugar with a treat-dispensing toy each time you depart or an old shirt of yours so that your scent is nearby. For social pugs, it may be helpful to leave on the radio or TV in the background. as this ambient noise can be soothing. Leave your pug in a cool, dry room with plenty of access to water. This comes in handy if your pug's heart rate accelerates due to his nervousness. Whatever you do, never punish Sugar for any of her anxious behaviors as they are not a sign of disobedience.

Other Options

If you have already tried these strategies to no avail, have a pet sitter come to your home when you will be gone for long periods. This will help Pugsly keep his mind off your absence, resulting in less messiness at home. And mention your pug's separation anxiety to your veterinarian. She may be able to offer other therapeutic options, such as medication or behavior modification.

 

About the Author

Hannah Reid has a Master of Education from Harvard University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English and psychology from Hamilton College. She has worked with children in grades three through 12, providing academic support in the areas of writing and reading comprehension. Hannah also blogs about her family farm and offers tips on everything from chicken coops to kitten care.

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