Here's how to minimise separation anxiety for pets

Back to work or school could mean serious stress for a furry family member
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.01 30 Aug 2022

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Here's how to minimise separat...

Here's how to minimise separation anxiety for pets

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.01 30 Aug 2022

Share this article

Summer is coming to an end, and more people are going back to the office for work.

That could mean serious stress for a furry family member, who may be alone for an extended period for the first time since the pandemic.

Jennifer Burford is a dog trainer with the DSPCA. She told The Pat Kenny Show there are things people can do.


"With the COVID, dogs got so used to their owners being at home and now everybody's returning to the workplace.

"And now returning to school - and they're like 'OK, what's going on here?'".

She said the best way to prepare pets depends on their level of anxiety.

"Some owners have already been leaving the house in little stages, whether it be building up that length of time they're away for.

"We never recommend - if you are going from being at home all day to going to do an eight hour shift in work - get a dog walker, or get somebody in just to check on your dog.

"It's too long of a time to start [from]... you can't go from nought to 10, there has to be a climate there.

"So short periods of time that you're gone for".

A dog resting on a couch. A dog resting on a couch. Picture by: Lisa123456 / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo

Jennifer said it's not good to be with a pet all the time.

"There's always going to come a time that they do have to be on their own.

"Whether it be a family gathering that you all have to leave.

"Essentially we're not doing the dogs any favours in the long-run by mollycoddling them.

"So we want to build that independence, get them used to being on their own".

She said things like interactive toys, or food, can also help to distract them.

"It is something that we say to clients: Make you leaving a good thing and you coming back just OK.

"We want to make us coming back not the climax.

"So if we come in - not to say ignore your dog - but just come in, take your coat off, try make it relaxed when you come home so it's just OK with you coming home.

"And when we leave obviously, as well, to give them something nice".

And she said Kong toys - which allow you to put food inside a puzzle for the pet to figure out - are a good idea.

"The beauty of a Kong is that you don't stick to the one particular food - you can have pâté, squirty cheese, yogurt.

"But the one thing with it is make sure that when you come home, you remove the Kong.

"You want it to keep its value".

Main image: A dog looking out of a window. Picture by: Herb Bendicks / Alamy Stock Photo

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Back To Work DSPCA Dog Jennifer Burford Kong Toys Pandemic Pets Return To Work Separation Anxiety The Pat Kenny Show

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