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Dogs Trust warns of ‘ticking time bomb’ for separation anxiety in pets after lockdown

Dogs Trust is calling on pet owners to take action now to prevent anxiety separation post-lockdown

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 22 April 2020 09:41 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Lockdown could lead to a “ticking time bomb” of separation anxiety for dogs, an animal charity has warned.

Pet owners have been able to spend extra time with their dogs while working from home during the pandemic.

But the Dogs Trust fears that canines could be extremely anxious once the lockdown has ended and owners go back to work.

“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,” said Rachel Casey, director of canine behaviour and research at the charity.

“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”

Ms Casey says dog owners should start making preparations now so that pets don’t become unnecessarily distressed when the lockdown eventually ends.

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.”

There are an estimated 8.5 million dogs in the UK, with 24 per cent of households owning one or more dogs, according to the Dogs Trust.

Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity with a network of 21 rehoming centres across the UK and Ireland, which care for over 15,000 dogs every year.

In 2016 33,000 calls were made to the charity about handing over an unwanted dog.

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