Question: My dog gets very upset when I leave and is very vocal and can be destructive. What is the problem, and what can I do about it?

Answer: There are several reasons for this, but the most common is Separation Anxiety. This is a syndrome that probably has a genetic cause, and environmental stimulus will make it worse. The anxiety that your dog is experiencing is a panic response, just like people with panic attacks. A good idea to help with treatment is to video your dog while you are gone. Things like barking, panting, scratching, shaking, and pacing will begin shortly after you leave the house. Your veterinarian will help rule out other health problems and possibly prescribe medications. An obedience trainer can get involved with basic commands that will give your dog confidence. A professional behaviorist may be recommended to institute a Behavior Modification Program. The difference between a trainer and a behaviorist is that a trainer teaches a dog to do things on command while a behaviorist teaches your dog not to do certain undesirable behaviors when stimulated. Once we arrive at a diagnosis of Separation Anxiety, and trainers or behaviorists become involved, your veterinarian may be called upon to prescribe medications—the ones I use to fall into two categories, Supplements and Drugs. As a supplement, I often use CBD (hemp). As I have written here before, beware that you use a veterinary product. There are many medications that I prescribe for anxiety, and we often have to keep re-evaluating to get the right product at the right dose. Please understand that we do not just go straight to medications; we always take a multi-faceted approach with all the professionals involved and arrive at the best methods for your particular case. Also, remember this is not your fault, and with patience and practice on your part, you can correct this behavior, and you and your dog can have a great relationship.