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Separation Anxiety in Pets



The last 14 months has put everyone into a tailspin, including your four-footed family member. Your pet may have become accustom to having you at home seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Through conversations with many pet-parents a common concern has been voiced, when they stand up to leave the room or actually leave the room or leave the home, their pet becomes stressed and anxious.


As the world slowly begins to open up, pet-parents will be making their way back into the office. Needless to say, your dog and/or cat will definitely be confused and sadly for many, separation anxiety could be rearing its ugly head.


Should your dog display any of the below behaviours, I would strongly urge you to contact your veterinarian, as well to seek out assistance with a professional trainer:

  • continuous barking/whining;

  • salivation;

  • excessive yawning;

  • excessive licking or chewing of paws and/or private parts;

  • excessive panting, pacing, licking of lips;

  • attention seeking (i.e., jumping up, nipping, biting);

  • destructive behaviour to the home (doors, windows, furnishing, walls, digging holes in the carpet);

  • urination or defecation indoors;

  • lack of appetite when left at home alone (dogs will not eat when stressed);

  • overly anxious when they see you are preparing to leave the home; and

  • attempting escape as you are walking out.

Should your cat display any of the below behaviours, I would strongly urge you to contact your veterinarian, as well to seek out assistance with a professional trainer:

  • increased meowing;

  • wide eyes and big pupils;

  • excessive licking or grooming that causes fur loss;

  • excessive panting;

  • tail is held close to body, tail stays low or swishing tail;

  • whiskers are flat against their cheeks or far forward;

  • urination or defection outside of litter box; and

  • craving an unusual amount of affection.

For those who live in a condominium or an apartment, the stress level of having a dog or cat who is suffering from separation anxiety rises tenfold. The continuous barking or meowing and destructive behaviour to the unit can definitely give cause to you receiving notice; you either get rid of the pet or move out. Neither prove to be a positive end result. Whether you lose your pet through sickness, accident or surrender, the loss is no less devastating. The second option, moving out, is no better unless you can afford to purchase a private home as you will only find yourself in the same predicament you have just left. Ultimately, the best course of action, as noted above, contact your veterinarian and work with a professional trainer. This end result is a win-win, your home isn’t destroyed, you have once again secured a peaceful environment and the “cherry on the cake", your pet is exactly where he/she should be, lying next to you on the couch.


Below are links to four articles regarding separation anxiety and returning to work after covid-19. I believe they will be helpful in giving you a better understanding on how best to deal with this situation should it arise in your home.


https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/preventing-separation-distress-during-and-after-the-covid-19-pandemic

https://cdn.brief.vet/Clients/Elanco/Preventing-Separation-Anxiety-after-Covid-19+(3).pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/oct/18/dog-gone-how-to-handle-your-dogs-seperation-anxiety-when-you-return-to-the-office

https://www.goodrx.com/blog/separation-anxiety-in-pets-post-covid-19/


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