Not Eating Because of Separation Anxiety

QUESTION #1: Have you ever heard of a dog refusing to eat because of separation anxiety? My dog hasn’t eaten consistently for two weeks. Vet x-rays and blood work are both normal. We’re seeing a specialist tomorrow. I just wondered your thoughts are. Thanks.

ANSWER: Yes, this can happen – more so with dogs that are very emotionally driven. Dogs are social creatures. Is there anything you can do to give the dog more attention and play time/exercise each day e.g. pop home for lunch, or hire a neighbor/friend to stop in and spend time with your dog? Every dog is different and if you have a dog that’s needier than others then it requires extra effort/investment.


QUESTION #2: Yeah, for years she went to dog day camp. She stopped last year. She is six now. Can it happen in older dogs that never had separation anxiety before?

ANSWER: Yes, especially if the dog had something in its social life that has suddenly and recently been removed. Dog day camp is not an ideal solution for keeping a well-trained dog company. Read the following article on my Blog page:

As a better alternative, I always suggest hiring someone to stop by and take the dog on an outing, giving him lots of attention. Although, it needs to be someone you can truly trust that will maintain the training standards you’ve already reached using my Perfect Dog system. Make sure the dog sitter incorporates a really good cardio session into the outing/attention time. Sufficient daily cardiovascular exercise is critical to keeping any dog content and healthy.

Overall, it’s not worth undermining your amazing progress with the training for the sake of the convenience of a daycare facility. The bad influences and leniency will quickly rub off on your dog and he’ll start regressing – which will lead to all kinds of negative consequences for both him and you. So, it’s in your best interests – and your dog’s – to find another solution to your pet’s social needs.

When you have only one dog, the most ideal situation is to take your dog to work with you – if you can. If you can’t, it’s much easier with two dogs as they keep each other company during the day – and if you train them together to the same “Trust Zone” level my Perfect Dog system teaches, you can trust both dogs to be alone together for long periods without getting up to any mischief.

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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