What can you do if the dog who has stolen your heart damages your house while you’re away-often? More than frustrating, separation anxiety can damage the bond that makes these special pets our best friends.

This disorder is nobody’s fault. And it’s common. Many affected dogs, beside themselves with angst house soil, dig, scratch, chew, and howl. After returning home to daily disasters many frustrated dog parents protect their homes by confining their demolition dogs to a crate or a run. This almost always goes badly.

Science has discovered a genetic predisposition for many dogs with separation anxiety, a severe problem that has to be taken seriously because it represents a significant neurochemical imbalance in the brain. We can and do adjust the neurotransmitters at the root of this dysfunction with no side effects.

Behavior modification, of the scientific variety, is another essential component of treatment. There is much more.

Teaching them to stay calm when seeing their person get ready to leave home and independence training have been crucial to the success of many dogs who freak-out when alone.

There won’t ever be guaranteed success. But most dogs who get the thorough care this disorder requires do much better. You and your veterinarian should do whatever it takes.

I hope you find this information useful. You’re welcome to share this video with any of your dog-loving friends. If their dog is miserable when home alone or if they arrive to find their house damaged, well, they’ll be glad for the advice.

Each week I share a short video, a podcast, or a blog to help bring out the best in pets. You can sign up at no charge on my website, drjeffnichol.com. And when you do, I’ll send you my free at-home pet first aid and CPR guide.

Thanks for listening. I’m Dr. Jeff Nichol.