Many of us have been working at home for a number of weeks since the lockdown started. This applies to any other family members, such as your spouse or children too. It looks like we may be reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. We need to think about what effect the end of lockdown may have on our four-legged friends. Some dogs may suffer from separation anxiety.
It’s common for dogs to suffer from separation anxiety. Suddenly being home alone might be a bit of a shock if they’ve been used to having you around. This will be particularly true if you’ve rehomed a rescue or bought a puppy during lockdown as they may never have experienced being left before.
Separation anxiety can present itself in many ways but some common symptoms include destructive behaviour, excessive barking, defecation and howling. Marc Abraham, TV vet and author, told Hello Magazine:
“Not all dogs or cats are affected by this kind of change of routine, but for some, separation anxiety is a real ticking time bomb just waiting to explode.”
But there are steps you can take to make the transition a little easier. You can start by leaving your pet in a safe, quiet room for short periods of time. Increase the time you leave them alone gradually when you think they can handle it. Make sure there’s nothing in there that they could chew or destroy. Running through your ‘normal’ routine may also help. Get dressed as if you are going to work, pick up your keys and leave the house. Enrichment toys like lick mats and slow feeders can help to keep them occupied while you’re away. When you return, don’t immediately make a big fuss. Wait for your dog to be nice and calm and then you can reward them for settling down so well.
If you think your dog is displaying symptoms of separation anxiety, get in touch with your veterinarian.
Fri May 29 2020