Dogs can face anxiety at home as their owners return to the world. But there are solutions | CBC News


Cooper is a contented go-lucky goldendoodle — till he is left at dwelling alone.

Jennifer Wright adopted him as a pet only a few months into the pandemic and the pair shortly turned inseparable.

“I did not have anyplace to go, actually. We’re speaking concerning the top of the pandemic — no work, no dinner with buddies,” mentioned Wright, who lives in a small condominium in downtown Toronto.

Now that Wright goes out extra, she is taking steps to alleviate her canine’s anxiousness with the assistance of a coach. She places CBD oil on Cooper’s meals to maintain him calm and units up a doggy cam.

“Even for me to go grocery buying, he’d begin to howl and bark and it’d escalate from there. I acquired a noise grievance as soon as after I left him for 30 or 45 minutes,” Wright mentioned.

Animal consultants say pandemic pet anxiousness is an actual phenomenon. Many animals adopted previously two years — and which served as sources of consolation in the course of the pandemic — at the moment are struggling because the world opens up.

Cooper, who was adopted in the course of the pandemic, is not used to being left alone within the downtown Toronto condominium the place he lives with proprietor Jennifer Wright. (Submitted by Jennifer Wright)

Andrea Dinan, a canine coach primarily based in Toronto, used to get only a handful of calls every month from canine homeowners struggling to go away their pets. Now, she mentioned, she’s busier than ever.

“Now individuals are going again and I get between 5 and 6 calls every week, people who find themselves both frightened about it or who’ve already tried to go away their canine and it did not go properly,” Dinan mentioned.

Suggestions and methods

In essentially the most extreme circumstances, canines can find yourself harming themselves by biting and licking excessively, barking excessively or inflicting injury to their dwelling, mentioned Dr. Larry Tung, a veterinarian on the Laird-Eglinton Pet Hospital in Toronto.

“I’d say the most typical would in all probability be the vocalization, which may progress and change into damaging behaviour of tearing up carpets, sofas, that form of factor.” 

If a canine proprietor will get the sense that their canine is affected by separation anxiousness, they need to attempt to tackle it shortly, Tung mentioned. 

“The longer that behaviour goes on for, the tougher it’s to eliminate. It will get extra ingrained into their psyche. After which it is exhausting to interrupt these habits,” he mentioned.

He mentioned homeowners ought to be certain that their pets get ample train and have a spot they really feel snug within the dwelling, with toys of their very own and maybe a crate.

Dr. Shannon Gowland, a veterinarian on the OVC Smith Lane Animal Hospital in Guelph, Ont., really useful that canine homeowners report a video to grasp what occurs when they’re away.

“For actually gentle circumstances, generally we will simply advocate some behaviour modifications or some particular coaching for that canine as a way to assist,” Gowland mentioned.

A veterinarian holds the paw of a dog
Tung says ensuring canines get sufficient train, and a spot they really feel snug within the dwelling when they’re alone, resembling a crate, may also help alleviate stress. (Esteban Cuevas/CBC)

She recommended practising departures to habituate the canine after which set up a “departure routine.” When arriving dwelling, she mentioned homeowners ought to keep away from a dramatic greeting. 

“All of us need to hug our canines and say hi there and that we miss them. However it’s finest to keep away from numerous pleasure in your arrival again dwelling once more as a result of that may reinforce that going away was an issue,” she mentioned.

“Attempting to be as boring as potential in the meanwhile that you simply depart and if you come again may be actually highly effective.”

For some canines, she mentioned, medicine might even be needed. However earlier than doing that, “we might have the canine come into the clinic, do a bodily examination, perhaps some bloodwork, be certain that we’re not lacking any medical issues that is likely to be making the issue worse,” she mentioned.

For her half, Wright is exploring all choices for Cooper.

She mentioned she all the time retains in thoughts that the majority of us felt a excessive stage of stress and anxiousness in the previous few years, even our canines.

“You would not inform a human to cry it out or recover from their anxiousness and that is the mindset I attempt to deliver.”

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