Objectives—To determine potential risk factors and
behaviors associated with separation anxiety and
develop a practical index to help in the diagnosis of
separation anxiety in dogs.
Animals—200 dogs with separation anxiety and 200
control dogs with other behavior problems.
Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for signalment,
history of behavior problems, home environment,
management, potentially associated behaviors,
and concurrent problems.
Results—Dogs from a home with a single adult
human were approximately 2.5 times as likely to have
separation anxiety as dogs from multiple owner
homes, and sexually intact dogs were a third as likely
to have separation anxiety as neutered dogs. Several
factors associated with hyperattachment to the
owner were significantly associated with separation
anxiety. Spoiling activities, sex of the dog, and the
presence of other pets in the home were not associated
with separation anxiety.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results do
not support the theory that early separation from the
dam leads to future development of separation anxiety.
Hyperattachment to the owner was significantly
associated with separation anxiety; extreme following
of the owner, departure cue anxiety, and excessive
greeting may help clinicians distinguish between
canine separation anxiety and other separation-related
problems. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219: