Veterinarians Fear Dogs Will Experience Sudden Spike in Separation Anxiety as Pet Owners Return to Work

As many households around the country prepare for a return to pre-pandemic schedules, the only family members that don’t yearn for the country’s return to normalcy are pets, Pumpkin Insurance Services points out in a new report.

Having become accustomed to round-the-clock interactions with owners during COVID-19, veterinarians are deeply concerned that dogs will suffer severe separation anxiety when pet parents resume employment outside of the home.

With the influx of adoptions and fosters nationwide, many pups will experience their first extended alone times, making them more susceptible to developing angst and unease.

Dr. Justine Lee, a double board-certified critical care specialist and veterinary expert for Pumpkin Pet Insurance, advises that pet parents should pre-prepare their four-legged friends for impending changes in routines.

To ensure owners and dogs alike a stress-free and emergency-free transition, Dr. Lee recommends the following

Desensitize pups to the new schedule. Pooches are perceptive and recognize physical cues that indicate their human is leaving for the day. Actions like putting on shoes, picking up keys, or opening the front door can trigger a dog’s anxiety.

Acclimate dogs to such behaviors by doing things like stepping outside for varying lengths of time, putting your shoes on at random times, or opening or closing the garage door without leaving the house.

By creating new associations with such conduct, pups will be less likely to attribute them to mean their owners will be gone for 8-9 hours.

Create a Safe Space for Fido. Whether it’s a go-to room or a crate in which the animal feels comfortable, keeping pups in a confined area for the duration of the day can help avoid anxiety-induced faux “paws” around the house.

Create positive associations with the designated space by giving pets their meals or treats there. As well, ensure the location remains accessible even when parents are around so that the area isn’t solely associated with the owner’s absence. 

Remain quiet and calm when leaving and entering the home. The biggest mistake pet parents make is that they create noise and excited responses when coming and going.

These actions only rile dogs up and encourage bad behavior. Instead, pass the pup a treat when they are showing calm behavior and exit quietly without talking to them on departure and return.

Prepare for the worst. If Fido’s anxiety does not lessen despite taking proactive measures, consult a vet or behaviorist for advice.

Some animals consistently experience extreme behavioral issues as a result of separation and act in ways that can be harmful to their wellbeing.

In specific cases, veterinarians may recommend holistic supplements or prescription medications as they are very safe and can play an instrumental role in keeping a dog calm during situations that trigger stress.

Consider Pet Insurance. One final measure pet parents can take to protect their pets is to obtain pet insurance that includes coverage for behavioral treatments as well as accidents. 

Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans provide cost-effective coverage for a variety of conditions. Regardless of which health insurance owners ultimately select, it is important to do independent research before buying any insurance plan as not all companies cover behavioral conditions.

Find out more at

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions