Second Chance: Please Don’t Leave Me!

Second Chance: Please Don’t Leave Me!

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View shelter pets and services online:

Please scroll down to watch a short video of Mesa in action.


Dear Pet Column,

My dog has a really hard time being left alone at home and becomes destructive in an attempt to escape. It is difficult for me to leave him and I don’t know what to do.


Anxious Dog Dad

Dear Anxious,

Don’t worry, there is definitely help for both you and your dog.

Separation anxiety is one of the most common canine behavioral problems, affecting up to 30% of dogs. There are a range of symptoms for this, including hyper-vigilance and incessant pacing between windows and doors, barking, whining and a spectrum of destructive behavior (that can be severe enough as to lead to injury).

The risks of anxiety disorders in dogs far exceed annoying barking and shoe chewing. That can also lead to chronic physiological stress such as decreased immunity, increased infections, digestive disorders, weight gain, heart disease, etc.

Fortunately there are a host of methods to address this issue depending upon the severity of the symptoms such as exercise and energy needs. Vigorous exercise before being left at home is a great antidote. Additionally, enrichment activities such as brain engaging treat-dispensers and puzzles can really give your pet a positive focus for his energy when left alone.

Another option is to create a quiet and calm “safe space,” such as a dog crate or quiet room with the blinds drawn allowing your pet to feel safe and relaxed. Classical music promotes the tranquil environment too (I prefer Bark, I mean Bach). Using calming scents such as lavender on bedding is also effective.

With extreme cases of separation anxiety some veterinarians prescribe medication  – hopefully just temporarily while you work on exercise and calming routines – but I suggest first trying more chemical free options such as flower remedy essences such ass Rescue Remedy or canine-specific CBD products.

Now let me ask: does your moniker of Anxious Dog Dad mean Dad of an anxious dog or Anxious Dad of a dog? The answer to that is quite important. You want to make sure you are not apprehensive about leaving your dog, which he will pick up on immediately and foil all your other efforts. You need to let go of your guilt and angst about leaving and feel okay. Your dog is likely to react in kind.

I suggest establishing a calm routine for preparing your dog (and yourself) to be separated, as well as practicing leaving your dog without any emotional fuss. That allows you pet to feel leaving is normal – and that you will be back.

Separation anxiety is tough on pets and people. It presents in varying levels of severity and can take a big commitment by a dog parent to get a pet through it. If your pet is experiencing problems in this area give my staff here at Second Chance a call for additional resources and support.

About me:

My name is Mesa, a two-year-young cattle dog mix. I’m a bit shy initially, but once familiar with you I will share my huge personality! I also love to play with dogs, but I don’t care for cats. I’m in search of a family needing a super sweet forever dog who likes to hike and cuddle.

I would love to be your Valentine…

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.