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Old 07-15-2014, 03:54 AM
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Default Please help! I'm so stressed!

Hello again, everyone. I've only made one post on here before, and I appreciate all of the advice. I was trying to make an appointment today for Gizmo to see the vet for multiple things, including his separation anxiety. It's time for medicine, for sure. His training is getting no where because he literally has panic attacks when I'm gone.

For those who don't know, I consider my dog (adopted) to have severe separation anxiety. He will harm himself and bark/cry for up to 5/6 hours straight. I have little to no support and not a lot of money, but now I'm determined to find the money to get him help.

I come back today. Gizmo was alone for 4-5 hours. I gave him vigorous exercise, food, water, didn't say good-bye in an overly dramatic way, and gave him 8 mg of Benadryl hoping he would be a bit sedated.

My husband comes home and takes him out. He has diarrhea 4 times. Then he has loose stools 1 time. He hid under the bed and cried. He ate part of the comforter we keep in his cage. I make an appointment with the vet ASAP and when I get home I let him outside. He had 2 very soft BM with blood in them and seemed lethargic. I suspected an obstruction still.

I take him to the vet. We talk about not only that, but his flea dermatitis (he needs a steroid shot after all of this), a tooth cleaning (he has gingivitis), a possible injury to his paw from frantically trying to get out of his cage, and of course the anxiety itself.

The vet seemed OK at first. I actually liked this vet, but now I don't. He started mentioning how we can give him medicines such as Prozac, or others if that doesn't work. Even combinations. We can give him a sedative to temporarily stop him from hurting himself.

Then he starts naming the "other options", which are mainly this rubber choke collar and a SHOCK COLLAR. He said that we should try a shock collar before the medicine. My husband immediately shook his head and the vet explains that "it's not torture". I ask about the medicine again, and he says that if I give him medications, my dog will be "completely different", "the training won't work", and "the medicine will just sedate him" (aka Prozac). Uhm, no. I kept bringing up the medicine, and he kept insisting that the shock collar should be tried first. I don't know if he doesn't take this seriously, he doesn't know what psychiatric medicines do, or if he thinks SA is simply attention-seeking, but my dog is in PAIN. He is hurting himself when I'm away. He even said how one family was helped by putting a shock collar on their dog, leaving their young children alone at home with it, and letting the kid just press the button. Uhm, WHAT?!?!?! Separation anxiety is serious, and this severe type needs medication. I don't understand. What part of dog barking HOURS when I'm gone and SELF HARMING automatically makes him think of a shock collar? He also acted like medication is taking the easy way out, yet said a shock collar is a good instant solution. Yeah, if I want my dog to be further traumatized and shut down, I will do that. My poor baby is having literal panic attacks when I'm gone (his heart rate is crazy high when he has them).

I almost walked out of there, but Gizmo needs to stay overnight. Because of the material of the quilt, he needs to have barium first and will have an X-ray ASAP tomorrow morning.

I have found GREAT advice on this site, and I appreciate it. His anxiety is now causing him to even lunge at cars (new behavior). The good news is I can leave him alone and still be in the apartment for probably hours. It's only when I leave when he freaks out. I did use the thunder shirt on him before, and he instantly rolled over and went to sleep. I even put a phone in the room and left it there. He stayed silent for over 30 minutes, and even then, it was only slight whining. I thought it might be too tight and that's why he was so calm, but nope. I'm thinking about going back to that.

My current problem is how do I deal with this vet? He is pretty cheap, and medically, he is usually sound. He did dismiss the thunder shirt as junk, though. As a human with anxiety, I know for a fact pressure can work on certain people with insomnia, anxiety, and autism. It makes sense to me that it could possibly work for some dogs.

The thunder shirt went too high up on his neck, though. I will have to fashion him one myself. Aside from that and the medication, I have now learned that severe separation anxiety is hard to treat. You shouldn't leave your dog alone at ALL during treatment. I'm willing to find a sitter. I really, really am. Please, anyone who has had this sort of experience, please recommend some steps. I live in the Long Beach area, if that helps. I'm currently without a car, though.

I want to start training that was recommended (all positive reinforcement and counter conditioning), but he really needs medicine first. Any recommendations for medicines (or combos) are helpful. Right now, my current worry is that he barks when my MIL is hope and she needs sleep. (For those that don't know, he doesn't like her and she is bad with dogs anyway). Is it possible to give something sedating temporarily to prevent harm to himself and the barking? I only want to use it when I'm gone, and until the main medicine (like Prozac or another kind) will start to kick in. He is a harm to himself, and I'm starting college in about 6 weeks.

Everyone thinks I'm ridiculous for spending money on my dog and getting him help. I can't believe people give such a lack of support to animals going through this. I wouldn't be surprised if some of my in-laws suggest euthanasia. I would never do that. I'm tearing up even writing this. Please, anyone, I need your great advice again!
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2014, 11:55 AM
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Look into Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy and Animals Apawthecary Tranquility Blend

Also have you tried this:
Comfort Zone Diffuser with D.A.P. for Dogs at PETCO
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:36 PM
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Your dog is so lucky to have you, you are absolutely on the right track thinking of meds and behaviour modification. I work as a Dog Trainer for Behaviour Vets and the results I have seen with separation anxiety have been amazing, much better than when I have used training alone. There is so much misinformation about meds and it only harms the dogs. Just like people some dogs need meds to feel happy and many can be weaned off them after 6mths. The shock collar will make things much worse, don't go there. Maybe your Vet would consider contacting a Behaviour Vet on your behalf to get up-to-date info about suitable meds? Good luck!!
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  #4  
Old 07-15-2014, 01:56 PM
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Thunder shirt helped my poodle with his fear related issues.

Do you crate him when you are at home? For instance, to feed him his meals in it? Google "crate games" and make the crate a more welcoming place. Make it something that is used while you are also HOME instead of crate = mom leaves for a long time and dog panics.

Hope this helps. Otherwise could you do something like an Isis pen? He would have more room to play/move.

I have used a shock collar as a last resort with my minpin (RIP). He barked constantly in our apartment and the management started eviction processes on us if he didn't stop. She said he barked all day (we were above the office). SO then I took him to work (was a bather at Petsmart), where he barked all day as well. I used a shock/bark collar on him and he learned to control himself and be quiet. It's harsh initially, yes, I think it's more surprising than painful on the lower levels, but we didn't get evicted and I didn't lose my job from his barking either. Eventually I didn't have to use it at all.

Good luck.
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  #5  
Old 07-15-2014, 03:36 PM
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Welll, I'd definately use the thunder shirt more. If it works, USE it!!!! You could try a T shirt if you can get one small enough. It needs to be tight though. As for the vet, I would tell him nicely, the shock collar is NOT going to be an option, and if he won't give you a prescription for Prozak or similar drug, you will go elsewhere. Punishment doesn't have a place in separation anxiety. Barking maybe, but not anxiety. Can you get to a behaviorist?? Good luck.
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:03 PM
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Have you ever thought about recording your voice on a recorder (maybe singing a song), saying his name. Play it when you leave. Don't be afraid to talk to him. Tell him you have to go out and it's ok. I would try the leaving for a few minutes (stepping outside the door) then increasing the time each time. I would definitely use the thunder shirt since it works. Do you have someone that can watch him while you're out. I would definitely find someone I could trust to watch him while you're out. Do you play soft music when you leave? Hope you can help this baby feel secure soon.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huly View Post
Look into Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy and Animals Apawthecary Tranquility Blend

Also have you tried this:
Comfort Zone Diffuser with D.A.P. for Dogs at PETCO
I haven't tried any of those. Which one would you recommend I try first? I'm thinking about running to Petco tonight and getting the Diffuser. I will let you know if I notice any effects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kismet View Post
Your dog is so lucky to have you, you are absolutely on the right track thinking of meds and behaviour modification. I work as a Dog Trainer for Behaviour Vets and the results I have seen with separation anxiety have been amazing, much better than when I have used training alone. There is so much misinformation about meds and it only harms the dogs. Just like people some dogs need meds to feel happy and many can be weaned off them after 6mths. The shock collar will make things much worse, don't go there. Maybe your Vet would consider contacting a Behaviour Vet on your behalf to get up-to-date info about suitable meds? Good luck!!
Thank you. I just feel like I owe it to my dog to help him. I have anxiety myself, and I understand some of the bad misinformation about psychiatric medicines. I feel kind of put of that my vet doesn't recognize I HAVE been training him, but it's not enough. I kind of gave him in the past month and I've just been doing things like encouraging independence, not holding him much, leaving him in the room while I do chores and he sleeps or chews on a bone, and waiting until he is calm before I pet him when I come home.

I have tried more intensive training and desensitizing, but obviously his panic is so bad that he can't help it. I remember having panic attacks, and it's like you have tunnel vision and you can't exactly calm down when you aren't even in control of your body!

I'm against shock collars, but it seems especially bad that he recommended this to my very scared dog. I know for a fact it will make things worse. I even suggested a vibration collar (just to see his thoughts on it) and he said it never works. He said only shock collars work. So, I kind of had my answer on how ethical he is when treating anxiety right there.

I have managed to find a board certified behavioral vet. According to her website, she does Skype consults and I would just need to provide video and blood work. I might go this route if I go back to the vet today and want Prozac but he refuses. He did want to give all of my treatment options, but honestly, I KNOW there are certain meds he can give me short term and long term. I don't care if I have to give my dog a little tab of xanax for a few weeks until the Prozac kicks in. If that's what he needs, it's what he needs. I will be asking for some sort of medicine with sedating effects for the short term, and a long term medicine like an anti-depressant. I'm also planning to resume desensitization and positive reinforcement. Since the anxiety revolves mainly around me leaving, I will be having my husband be the primary caretaker for a few weeks so he can know it's OK if I'm not there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shamrockmommy View Post
Thunder shirt helped my poodle with his fear related issues.

Do you crate him when you are at home? For instance, to feed him his meals in it? Google "crate games" and make the crate a more welcoming place. Make it something that is used while you are also HOME instead of crate = mom leaves for a long time and dog panics.

Hope this helps. Otherwise could you do something like an Isis pen? He would have more room to play/move.

I have used a shock collar as a last resort with my minpin (RIP). He barked constantly in our apartment and the management started eviction processes on us if he didn't stop. She said he barked all day (we were above the office). SO then I took him to work (was a bather at Petsmart), where he barked all day as well. I used a shock/bark collar on him and he learned to control himself and be quiet. It's harsh initially, yes, I think it's more surprising than painful on the lower levels, but we didn't get evicted and I didn't lose my job from his barking either. Eventually I didn't have to use it at all.

Good luck.
Thanks for your comment. Luckily for me, my apartment is way in the back. So far, the only person complaining is my MIL because she will need to sleep and he is barking. She makes no attempt to actually train with us, though. She just yells at him or sticks her hand out to pet him very fast.

I can't comment on shock collars for barking alone, but my dog also has separation anxiety. Punishing him will make him worse, and the last thing I want is a situation even worse than this. His barking non=stop is purely due to me leaving and him panicking. Other than that, he's mostly mellow and only barks like a "normal" dog, thank god!

The thunder shirt did help and I'm planning on making him a new one. The one that fits him kind of rides up his neck and it looks uncomfortable when he lays down. If only his chest was tinier! I will definitely be looking into a pen now. The weird thing is he loves his cage when I'm home. He goes in there to eat, sleep, and even to chew his bones or to relax. He's even OK if it's closed, but he gets alert at first because he thinks I'm leaving. It's only when I'm gone from the room and/or apartment that he hates being locked up in it. BTW, it's an extra large cage and he's only like 8 pounds. He hates small cages. Do you think in this case a pen would be good? I was also considering dog-proofing my room and just leaving him in there, sans cage.



Quote:
Originally Posted by susan davis View Post
Welll, I'd definately use the thunder shirt more. If it works, USE it!!!! You could try a T shirt if you can get one small enough. It needs to be tight though. As for the vet, I would tell him nicely, the shock collar is NOT going to be an option, and if he won't give you a prescription for Prozak or similar drug, you will go elsewhere. Punishment doesn't have a place in separation anxiety. Barking maybe, but not anxiety. Can you get to a behaviorist?? Good luck.
Omg! I think I'm going to try a baby or toddler shirt now! Thanks for that advice! Yes, I would say the thunder shirt worked VERY well, at least when I practiced leaving him home. He only whined a bit for 30 minutes when I was gone from the apartment and didn't harm himself. Yes, his barking is solely due to the anxiety. When my husband or myself is around, he only barks like a "normal" dog to alert us or because something is loud, etc. I already found a vet behaviorist (surprisingly, there aren't that many in Southern California...) and she is willing to do Skype consultations. All I need is a vet to do any tests she needs before the medication(s) are prescribed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodard2009 View Post
Have you ever thought about recording your voice on a recorder (maybe singing a song), saying his name. Play it when you leave. Don't be afraid to talk to him. Tell him you have to go out and it's ok. I would try the leaving for a few minutes (stepping outside the door) then increasing the time each time. I would definitely use the thunder shirt since it works. Do you have someone that can watch him while you're out. I would definitely find someone I could trust to watch him while you're out. Do you play soft music when you leave? Hope you can help this baby feel secure soon.
Yes, I have! Do you recommend any devices? The problem is my computer builds up a bit of heat in the room, and I don't want him to overheat. Maybe I can make a CD with a loop and on repeat to play at certain times!

I was doing the whole desensitizing thing, but the past month his anxiety has gotten so bad that it's not even working (at least for me leaving the apartment). Pretty much I think medication will reduce his anxiety just enough to where training is effective again.

I will be making him a new thunder shirt that doesn't ride up his neck (I wish he could use the xxsmall one, but his chest is big and the part around his neck is all the way to his chin :[ )

Since we will be starting treatment, I'm now thinking I should just try and find the finances to hire a sitter temporarily. Unfortunately, I don't trust anyone else in my household besides my husband to watch him. I REALLY wish I did, as this would solve issues, but they just don't know how to handle dogs. Their "training" consists of yelling at him. I mean, they had a chihuahua before and just left it in the dark garage all day and night and never even paid attention to it EVER. I can only imagine what they would do to my baby *shutters*.

I have played a public radio station on low, and I don't know if it helped. I'm thinking the next step is also getting a webcam so I can monitor any progress made while I'm outside of the apartment door. Even if he's not barking, he could still be displaying panic and I wouldn't know. What music would you recommend? Nature sounds or actual music?
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  #8  
Old 07-16-2014, 01:22 AM
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I would try the diffuser and Rescue Remedy (I use it on an anxiety cat)
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