Rachel Malamed, DVM, DACVB, board-certified veterinary behaviorist, today warned pet owners that dogs who engage in destructive habits when alone may actually be suffering from separation anxiety. Though this is a common condition, affecting as many as a third of pet dogs, if left untreated, it can have more dangerous repercussions than a ruined couch or scratched wall. In fact, in some dogs, separation anxiety can increase risk of skin disorders, serious and sometimes deadly accidents, and other health issues.
"Separation anxiety is more than just a nuisance for pet owners," Dr. Rachel says. "It’s a sign that the dog is under severe stress. Over time, it can have a serious effect on his health and well-being, while potentially destroying the bond between the dog and his owner."