Separation anxiety: Treating dogs in the wake of COVID-19
Not every pet develops separation anxiety due to abrupt changes in the owner’s schedule, but the ones that do deserve our help
We have experienced many dramatic changes in our lives recently and so have our pets. Many have adapted to families being around all the time, becoming comfortable with this new routine, and, then bam! Everything changes again.
Across the country, some communities and families are under stay-at-home orders, while others are moving about freely. Even if your community has lifted restrictions, some people will remain in lockdown due to underlying health issues.
That said, pets may have their worlds rocked as they find themselves home alone for the first time in months when the kids go back to school this fall. Animals that never experienced separation anxiety in the past could suddenly be coping with the perception of abandonment.
We know behavior is the leading cause of pet relinquishments. On top of this, many pets are being given up due to uncertain living or financial conditions. This is happening when pet owners may need their companionship and emotional support more than ever.
It behoves all of us in the veterinary profession to help prevent and overcome pet behavior problems before they result in irreparable damage to the human-companion animal bond.