PET owners are being warned their dogs could develop separation anxiety once the coronavirus lockdown ends - having become accustomed to extra human attention.

Welsh pet food company Burns Pet Nutrition, founded by veterinary surgeon John Burns, has warned dog owners that their pets are at risk of suffering from anxiety problems when they finally go back to work, unless steps are put in place to prepare them.

They are urging owners to take action now to help pets get ready for the return to normality and prevent them from developing attachment.

Owners are advised to spend some time away from their dogs during the day, even while in the same house, to ensure they get used to time alone.

Such measures will be particularly important for the thousands of pets that have been bought or adopted during the pandemic, especially puppies, as they will have only ever experienced life in lockdown.

The Kennel Club seeing searches for puppies rise by 53 per cent and rescue centres reporting a significant increase in adoption interest.


Ben Evans, dog trainer and owner of Dog Behaviour Wales, said: “After being used to having us around 24/7, it may be difficult for our dogs to cope when we go back to our regular routines and aren’t around all the time, especially for puppies who know no different.”

Separation anxiety symptoms include excessive barking and howling, urination and defecation, destructive behaviours, salivation and pacing.

Normalising being alone cant take the form of leaving pets in a ‘puppy-proofed’ room for small increments during the day.

As well as ensuring dogs have controlled periods alone, they should be given something to do to help reduce their anxiety when left alone.

Laura Crotch-Harvey, Nutrition Manager at Burns said: “Combining these activities with alone time will not only act as a pacifier but will build on the positive association that good things happen when they are left alone.”