Dog owners have been warned about possible separation anxiety and ” heartbreak” that their pet may develop after COVID-19 lockdown ends.
Due to the amount of time people are spending at home, dogs might become too reliant on human attention, according to Dogs Trust.
The animal welfare charity has advised pet owners to maintain a normal routine with their pet to prevent this, even during the lockdown.
Such preventative measures include maintaining the dog’s usual routine of walking and feeding times. It also recommends allowing pets to spend time not in direct human contact, such as going to a different room in the house for a period of time.
Karla Dunne, head of operations for Dogs Trust Ireland, explained: “We need to be mindful that to our dogs, we are their whole world and the more time they spend in our direct company, the more they grow accustomed to it and may become upset when we are not around.”
“So, we do need to prepare them for our return to normality, even if we’re not quite sure when that might be, preparing them now may avoid unnecessary distress for our dogs.”
Last year, Dogs Trust Ireland received over 2,300 requests from members of the public who wanted to surrender their dog, according to Becky Bristow, executive director of Dogs Trust Ireland.
Bristow fears this number may rise as dogs experiencing separation anxiety become potentially unmanageable.
“Anxious dogs can panic when you leave, causing them to become destructive and damage your home, they can also bark and howl. So, we would implore owners to be mindful of this now, when there are simple steps you can take to avoid it,” she explained.
“We are also worried that some people have rushed out and impulse bought puppies because they knew they would be at home for a few weeks. However, they may not have the time to commit to them when they return to work.”
For lots of useful tips for concerned owners on how to help your dog cope during the lockdown and when you return to work, click here.