Is your pet experiencing separation anxiety?
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 affected both people and pets in many ways. It seems that many pets are stressed now that their owners are returning to work.
Separation anxiety is when a pet experiences a severe form of stress which is referred to as distress when their owner leaves. It can manifest as barking, other types of vocalization, attempts to follow their owner, inappropriate elimination and destructive behavior, among others.
Your primary care veterinarian will be able to perform a physical exam and discuss your pet’s behavior, and they may be able to start your pet on medications and supplements and share advice about desensitization and enrichment techniques. However, some cases require referral to a veterinarian specialized in behavior.
In the meantime, try to make arrangements avoid leaving your pet at home in distress, and never punish your pet for episodes of separation anxiety – these are the equivalent of panic attacks in humans and are already very fear-inducing experiences in and of themselves!
You can find a Veterinary Behaviorist in your area on this website: https://www.dacvb.org/ . This condition requires a combination of medication and training. Ask your veterinarian or Veterinary Behaviorist for a recommendation for a trainer.
1) Veterinary Partner. Veterinarypartner.com
2) Tilley, L. P., & Smith, F. W. (2005). The 5-minute veterinary consult: Canine and feline. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
3) Yin, S. A. (2010). The small animal veterinary nerdbook. Davis, CA: CattleDog Pub.