Dogs Trust has warned dog owners over a “ticking time bomb” of separation anxiety following the coronavirus lockdown, when pet owners return to their normal routines.
The charity has urged pet owners to spend extra time with their dogs during the lockdown as well as issuing advice on how to deal with dogs or puppies that are feeling anxious.
The advice includes making sure dogs have a comfy bed or den, where they can relax in peace, giving them something fun to occupy them, such as a long-lasting treat or puzzle toy.
Dogs Trust also advised dog owners to take a couple of steps to the other side of the room whilst their pet is having a treat and “if your dog stays where they are, wait a moment, then go back and reward them with an extra treat.”
Rachel Casey, director of canine behaviour and research at Dogs Trust, said: “For many of us it has been great to spend so much time with our dogs during lockdown and mostly our dogs love us being around too.
“But all this extra attention could potentially create a ticking time bomb of separation anxiety for our dogs. If they expect us to be about all the time, it will be more difficult for them to cope once we go back to our normal lives and aren’t in the house 24/7.”
She added: “Now is the time to act to avoid future problems – and it’s easy to do. Just make sure that you factor in time apart from your dog each day to help them be able to cope when alone – this could be separated from you by a door or child gate for an hour or two whilst you’re working or home schooling the kids.
“By organising your dog’s day, with time apart, play times, exercise, other activity sessions (like giving them a food filled toy) and quiet times, you can make sure that your dog maintains their ability to cope with the different aspects of ‘normal’ life when we get back to it.”