Lockdown affects on Your Pet.
….a future problem is lurking to create anxiety issues you should prepare for now.
Dogs evolved with man and have been shaped and molded to fit our image of a constant adoring companion.Consequently,changes in routines can have profound effects that I guarantee we will start to experience as the lock down winds down. The lengthier the confinement the worse the aftermath will be.
Prior to this event we have seen,as Veterinarians,similar scenarios where owners had to be home for work loss or medical reasons. Our dogs now have their caregiver around 24/7 and it’s a big change over their prior daily schedule which usually included long periods of time away from the owner.
Now,their natural tendency to be addicted to owner attention is magnified and the adjustment to the loss of level of constant contact creates big emotional and behavioral issues.
Its called Separation Anxiety. It can happen to ANY dog under the right situation. Being home bound is the ideal scenario to unleash this monster of a problem. Typical behaviors range from destructive acting out : chewing things up, defecating and urinating on carpets,clothing or beds. Crying and vocalizing when now left alone and physical sickness: colitis ,diarrhea, vomiting and not eating.Or any combination of the above to name a few.
Eventually,many dogs need to be put on Prozac,or similar SSRI antidepressants to return to a sense of well being they had prior to this new lifestyle.
The main component of prevention is to not allow constant contact through the day. If used to a crate or pen area make sure that they are confined for 1-2 hrs by them selves. You can also tie them to the table with a leash and go about your business without them following you everywhere. Never let them go to the bathroom with you and keep them out of the kitchen when your working there. Also, go out for increasing amounts of time away from the house without your dog(s) starting with 5 minute increases several times a day and do this daily up to an hour,at least,would be best. They are home alone without you and everything is going fine. They need to remember this lesson.
Finally, when you return or let them out of cage or pen ignore them for 5 minutes and DO NOT make a big uproarious deal about seeing them. Also ignore them when you leave.Don’t even say goodbye.
I think you can see what we are doing here is trying to create a sense of self sufficiency and confidence that they can be without you for periods of time and all will be well. No emotional meltdown.
As for cats… they probably didn’t even notice the change and don’t care anyway. They’re
Cats – they let you live at their house.
Rex Urich DVM Bend Oregon