Dogs Trust, Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity, is warning dog owners their furry friends could develop separation anxiety when the current Covid-19 lockdown ends.
Due to the amount of time most owners have been spending with their dogs recently, the charity fears many dogs have become too reliant on human attention over the past number of weeks and will become extremely anxious once their owners go back to work.
The charity is advising owners that even during this lockdown, it is important to have as normal a routine as possible and you should try to keep to your dog’s usual routine of walking and feeding times. Dogs should be allowed to spend periods of time not in direct human company, even if this means you being in another room or you are upstairs, and they are downstairs.
Karla Dunne, Head of Operations, Dogs Trust Ireland explains: “For many of us, it has been lovely to spend so much time with our dogs recently and they have helped a great deal of people cope with Covid-19 related fear and anxiety. Dogs are a huge source of comfort to us and in a lot of cases a source of entertainment and laughter; they really are four-legged mood boosters! However, 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.”
Becky Bristow, Executive Director, Dogs Trust Ireland explains: “Last year, we received over 2,300 requests from members of the public wanting to surrender their dog to us. We are extremely worried that this figure could significantly increase this year if lots of dogs develop separation anxiety and become potentially unmanageable for their owners. 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. 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.”
Dogs Trust has real concerns that this crisis will soon bring an influx of dogs in desperate need of help. The charity is solely reliant on the generosity of the public to continue their life-saving work across Ireland. In these challenging times, your generosity will save lives, and ensure unwanted dogs and puppies can continue to receive the love and expert care they need to get them back on their paws again. Please donate what you can through their website or by Sponsoring a Dog or a Puppy Playgroup online.
The charity has lots of useful tips for concerned owners on their website DogsTrust.ie/Separation on how to help your dog cope during the lockdown and when you return to work.