More Than 50 Percent of Dog Owners Believe Their Pets Have Separation Anxiety, Study Finds

Reports of separation anxiety in dogs have spiked over the last few months as humans are spending more time with their pets at home amid the coronavirus pandemic

dog separation anxiety
Photo: Getty

While many pets are soaking up all the extra time at home with their owners amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a new study shows that this intensified bond could be leading to an increase in canine separation anxiety.

As dogs have gotten used to having their owners home more than they used to be, many pet parents (61 percent to be exact) have found that their dogs are showing signs of distress on the few occasions they leave the house during the pandemic.

Dog supplement brand Veterinary Naturals surveyed dog owners across the country last month to see how America's dogs are handling separation anxiety.

Results from the survey found that 53 percent of dog owners overall and 60 percent of hybrid workers (people who work both remotely and in an office) believe that their dogs has separation anxiety.

According to the ASPCA, the most common symptoms of separation anxiety include:

  • Going to the bathroom in the house
  • Barking and howling in excess when left alone
  • Chewing, digging, or destroying household items
  • Pacing, often in a certain pattern
  • Attempting to escape

The survey found that the most common anxious behavior that dogs exhibit when owners are out of the house during the pandemic is barking and howling (40.2 percent) followed by chewing household items (29.3 percent) and pacing or restlessness (25 percent).

Anxious dog under couch

Dogs of hybrid workers were found to struggle the most with separation anxiety, possibly due to the fact that there is less predictability of schedule.

To cope with separation anxiety in dogs, 54 percent of owners said they try to keep their dogs busy through stimulated exercise and engagement.

Other common calming methods included sending dogs to a doggy daycare (40 percent) or trying CBD supplements, treats or add-ins for their dogs (58 percent).

Dog owners have also found that their anxiety has been affecting their dogs as well, 45.2 percent said they feel their anxiety somewhat affects their dogs while 35.67 percent said it definitely affects their pets.

The survey also found that 58 percent of dog owners say their dogs have followed them around the house more during the pandemic and 60 percent of owners are spending 6-15 more hours with their dogs per week.

Veterinary Naturals suggests keeping up a routine, not a schedule, to help provide structure for your pet, as well as teaching your pet coping skills to help, manage their anxiety.

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