ISU seminar for pet owners will focus on canine separation anxiety

AMES, Iowa -- An Iowa State University veterinarian will provide basic information on how to deal with a dog that suffers from separation anxiety during a seminar for pet owners at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, in room 2532 Veterinary Medicine building. The seminar, "Velcro Dogs: Basic Prevention and Treatment Suggestions for Separation Anxiety," is free and open to the public.

"Dogs with separation anxiety become highly stressed, agitated and destructive when they cannot be with their owner," said Dr. Kim Langholz, who will present the seminar.

"When the owner leaves for work, these dogs may display what might be considered minor behavior problems -- pacing, panting, increased salivation, howling and excessive barking," Langholz said.

Such behaviors could escalate.

"Dogs with separation anxiety sometimes even urinate and defecate in the house, injure themselves, or cause tremendous damage to the home when they chew through doors, jump through plate glass windows, tear up carpeting or destroy furniture," Langholz said.

During the one-hour session, Langholz will explain specific actions dog owners can take to prevent and correct the destructive behaviors.

"Prevention centers around obedience training, proper exercise and mental stimulation, and giving attention on your terms--not when the dog solicits attention," she said. "Treatment options range from modifying departure and greeting procedures to medication."

Langholz is a community practice veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Teaching Hospital.