Separation Anxiety: Things That Didn’t Work

We have had Zeke since late October of 2017. We (read I) decided to adopt him as our own sometime early last spring. He has always had problems with separation anxiety since we’ve had him.

I suspect that he had problems before we ever got him because he showed up missing two fangs. At first we wondered what happened since the owner who turned him in said he was only three years old. As I have seen what he has done to his teeth over the last year, I suspect that he had separation anxiety even then. That may be what led to him being turned in to a Humane Society. Although I wonder if it is true, the story goes that he was turned in with another dog and that the owner was moving. It’s just one of those things that we’ll never know. Was it a fabrication? Almost certainly there was more to the story.

Zeke’s separation anxiety has definitely escalated in the time he has been here. The drooling in his crate increased from some drool to puddles of drool drenching him and the crate. Then the crate chewing began. And the increased crate destruction and dental destruction. On to escape, and house destruction. We have made some various changes and, I think, are slowly reversing the tide of destruction. A future post will share the improvements.

I have come to believe that I have been part of the problem though. I was too accommodating with him. Now, we should be nice to our dogs. But we should not let them do things that lead them to perceive that we are not in charge and that they are in control. We must be in control or chaos will ensue. I have evidence.

Zeke’s issues did not go ignored since he has been with us. I knew that we needed to do something to try to deal with the drooling and frantic reactions. Early last year, I got Prozac and Valium from the vet and tried them for a month or two. There was no visible change. I obtained some homeopathic calming chews. I thought those were having no effect but he did have some bad episodes when we ran out of them so I got some more and continue to use them.

I tried hemp oil. I didn’t notice much difference. After “The Big Incident” with destruction in our dining room, I immediately got some Xanax from the vet. If anything, this made him worse. It seemed that Zeke lost control while on it and ran around the house getting into trouble left and right.

I researched and discovered that hemp oil and cannabidiol oil are not exactly the same thing. Hemp oil is made from stalks of the Cannabis plant. The cannabidiol oil is made from leaves, flowers, stems and has more active ingredient. So I purchased some cannabidiol oil for dogs. I’m not sure if this helps a little or if some of the other changes I have made are helping slightly.

I’m a scientist. My first inclination was to change one thing at a time so I would know what did the trick. At this point, I don’t care. I tried a bunch of things at once, not caring which one helped. And it is probably most likely that multiple things helped when done in conjunction.

This post has been dedicated to medicinal things that I have tried. I will write a separate post about training and situational changes that we have been working on. And by the way, I have some great friends who will let me bend their ear, vent, and then offer me ideas to try or support. Thank you all, I really needed the moral support!