Many dog owners are proud of their bond with their pets, but what can you do when your dog's healthy affection turns into destructive neediness? Separation anxiety is a common condition in dogs, particularly those who are already prone to anxiety, and it can lead to ruined furniture, accidents in the house and safety hazards for your dog. Short of sedating your dog every time you leave, there is not much that traditional veterinary medicine can do for anxious canines, but more natural remedies may have an answer. As with humans, the ancient practice of acupuncture is often touted as a solution for dogs suffering from separation anxiety, but does it actually work? 

Understanding the Causes of Separation Anxiety

Although their humans often lead interesting and busy lives, most dogs rely on their owners for most of their entertainment, stimulation and affection throughout the day. Dogs are pack animals that instinctively form attachments to their housemates, so when you leave for a typical day at work, it may not be surprising that your dog feels abandoned. This anxiety builds over time as your dog comes to associate you leaving with escalating panic attacks, causing it to lash out at objects like furniture and forget basic house training. Eventually, this behavior becomes entrenched and can be nearly impossible to break. 

Stimulating the Immune System and Reducing Anxiety

So, what can acupuncture offer against stubborn anxiety? The traditional teachings of acupuncture focus on the flow of energy throughout the body, seeking to clear blockages through the insertion of slender needles into specific points on the body. Establishing a scientific consensus regarding why acupuncture works has been more difficult, but it appears that the inflammatory response incited by acupuncture can boost the immune system and minimize anxiety for days or even weeks after treatment. 

Breaking the Cycle of Anxiety

When you first begin acupuncture sessions with your dog, you may not see an immediate halt to your pet's separation anxiety. This is normal and expected. Instead, the goal is to gradually improve your dog's anxiety levels until it no longer associates you leaving with an immediate panic attack. By keeping up with regular acupuncture sessions, you may be able to slowly wean your dog off of its dependence on you and end up with a healthier, more well-adjusted pet in the bargain. If you think that your dog would be a good candidate for pet acupuncture, consult with your veterinarian or a local practitioner for a professional opinion and to begin breaking down the separation anxiety that torments your furry friend once and for all. 

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