Experts: Leaving family pets behind after quarantine may cause separation anxiety

Experts: Leaving family pets behind after quarantine may cause separation anxiety

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Since the onset of the pandemic, shelters across the nation cleared and many people relied on their pets to get through the isolation of social distancing.

Now that people are returning to work, and we begin to go out more, pets become the one family member left behind. This could lead to separation anxiety for our pets.

“Especially if you have adopted a dog since the start of the pandemic, the dog is not used to you ever leaving the house. So the first time you significantly leave the house for an eight hour work day or kids going back to school, that is going to be a very dramatic run for your pet,”said Nathan Hall from the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech. “So you can have smaller and smaller practice runs kinda transitioning into that period of time.”

La Chateau in Amarillo says their customers began returning in mid-July due to having to return to work.

Although they have not seen an increase in new customers, they say they have noticed some dogs that have returned to have a bit more difficulty adjusting. They say being around other dogs has helped.

For those who cannot afford to pay for dog daycare, Head Trainer at Off Leash Shelley Bayless says there are symptoms you can watch out for.

She says an excess of salivation, nervous pacing and panting, crying for more than 15 minutes, chewing up their toys or chewing at their crates are all signs of separation anxiety.

Because chewing on crates is a sign, she says the kind of crate you have can really make a difference.

“So wire crates are okay for containing a dog, however, if you have a dog that is really anxious, they can hurt themselves really bad to get out of those wire crate,” said Bayless. “They’ll pull on the wire until it is big enough so they can fit through there, or they will chew on the wire until they break their teeth with them, so a better options is a plastic crate.”

Other things to do is stimulate their brains. This can be done by commands which causes them to focus on that instead of you leaving.

If you see your dog is not improving, experts recommend taking them to an animal behaviorist or professional dog trainer.

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