As the UK, and the rest of the world, cautiously move forward into a new normal after the Covid crisis, for many there are still many ongoing consequences. Behavioural issues have been a common consequence for many of our canine, and some feline, companions. During lockdown behavioural issues have tended to be the consequence of changes in routine, restricted exercise and increased human interaction. Whilst many dogs will have welcomed the increased human contact for some this may have inadvertently led to overdependency, for these dogs, when normal working routines resume there is a real risk of separation related issues.
Separation related issues often involve vocalising, destructive behaviour and soiling. To try and prepare pets for when the family go back to work and/or school it is advisable to accustom them to being physically separated from you for extending periods of time during the day. This may start as periods spent in a separate room then move onto gradually increased periods of time when you leave the house. Providing a safe cosy den with rewards (toys, kongs) can help your dog settle whilst he/she is left. If you are able to provide your dog with a good period of exercise before you leave the house this can also help. For some dogs the level anxiety experienced when they are left is so severe that, during the initial adjustment/behavioural modification period, veterinary prescribed anxiolytic medication is needed. If you have concerns that your dog may be suffering, or at risk of developing, separation related issues please do not hesitate to contact one of our veterinarians for advice, it may be necessary to make an appointment if it is considered that your pet needs medication. In some instances referral to a veterinary behaviourist may be warranted.