What type of medicine may be necessary to be prescribed for my dog to help him overcome separation anxiety?

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There are numerous types of medications and supplements that can be used, but it cannot be emphasized enough: Only a veterinarian should determine the best medication, and only he/she should administer it—even when it’s a supplement or herb.

Some of the ones that might be suggested are:

• Canine anxiety medication such as clomipramine or prozac
• Nutritional supplements such as the amino acid, L-theanine ( brand name Anxitane or Composure)
• Herbs: Chamomile, Lavender, St. John’s Wort or Chinese herbs such as Shen Calmer from the Chi Institute or Bach Flower Essences, such as Rescue Remedy.

In combination with behavior modification, these remedies are a more natural method to help correct the problem. These include:
• Exercise and play: A tired dog is much more likely to accept separation and may even willingly want some time away to snooze.
• Increase self-confidence: Dogs with separation anxiety often have low self-confidence. Play some games, letting the dog win. Conduct short obedience training sessions. Constantly praise and treat.
• Create structure and protect. They like this, and a good place to start is the crate. If your dog is crate trained, after proper exercise, lead her to the crate with a tasty treat. If your dog is not crate trained, create an area just for your dog (the laundry room seems to be a popular site). Make the particular area very appealing to the dog. Once you think the dog is more comfortable, leave her there for no more than a few minutes at first. If the dog barks or exhibits other separation anxiety symptoms, do NOT return right then; you must wait until your dog is calm to return and treat. If your dog exhibited symptoms during your brief absence, decrease your time away. Gradually you will increase the duration of your absence. Eventually, your dog should understand that you will always return.
• Create a clear hierarchy: Remember, dogs are pack animals; they want a clear alpha figure in their life, and they want the leader to be you. A dog with separation anxiety might just be anxious about your whereabouts if he feels like she’s in charge or responsible for your safety.

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