Dogs May Face Separation Anxiety Once Coronavirus Lockdown Is Over, Experts Say


Dogs are benefitting greatly from the coronavirus quarantine.

The furry friends are spending less time home alone and more time cuddling up to their humans.

As those humans itch to get out of the house and back to a sense of normalcy, they’re likely taking Fido on more walks than usual, which again, is a win for dogs.

However, dog experts say that once the “stay-at-home” restrictions are lifted and things start getting back to normal, many dogs may have “extreme separation  anxiety” when the human go back to work.

“With such an overload of quality time with their families, dogs are building up a huge reservoir of over-dependency,” animal psychology expert Roger Mugford, who trained Queen Elizabeth’s corgis, told The Times.

Veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Karen Sueda, told Insider that the switch in routines can be bad for pooches.

“Dogs thrive on consistency and predictability, as we all do, so any time there’s an abrupt change, it can cause stress,” she said.

When dogs are under stress and undergo separation anxiety, they engage in problematic behaviors such as defecating, urinating, howling, chewing or trying to escape, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal reports.

“Put a webcam on your dog, and you’ll see howling and pacing and other distress signs,” Mugford added.

More intense symptoms of separation anxiety include dogs digging or chewing through doors and windows, which can unintentionally cause self-injury.

While there isn’t much you can do right now since staying at home is encouraged, experts suggest acclimating pooches to being alone prior to the end of the lockdown.

It’s better to get them used to being alone gradually than to force them into unnecessary stress when the lockdown is eventually lifted. It’s also important to establish a routine and stick to it.

“Allow your pet to have some alone time,” Sueda suggested. “You have your space, and they have theirs.”

Separation anxiety specialist Malena DeMartini-Price also told Insider that it’s important to teach a pups that absences are safe and nothing to be afraid of.

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