Once stay-at-home-restrictions are lifted and humans start going about their daily lives again, dogs are going to be very confused, according to an ABC News special report.
Steve Dale, a certified animal behavior consultant, said dog owners need to plan for this change.
“Suddenly, the dogs don’t get the email that it’s back to work or whatever that new normal is … I’m concerned we’re going to see a lot of separation anxiety,” he said.
Not all dogs will react the same. Here’s how owners can address dogs with different needs:
Dogs with previous separation anxiety
Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety when their owners leave the house. Dale suggests these owners be proactive and use the tools they have at their disposal, such as:
Dogs without previous separation anxiety
Other dogs enjoy the company of their humans but also like a little time alone. Dale said owners should look out for any developing signs of anxiety. Signs of separation anxiety include:
* Dogs howling or crying when their owners leave their homes
* Housetrained dogs having accidents
* Dogs digging at the door, perhaps as a way to try to escape.
Newly adopted dogs
Dale said young dogs are quick learners, and owners can use this to their advantage.
“For dogs that were recently adopted or are in foster, here’s what you do: Go take a walk without the dog. If you can, set up a camera or leave treats out all over. If the dog gobbles up those treats, it’s a good sign that the dog wasn’t anxious.”
What do the scientists say?
Nestlé Purina scientists have focused their studies on the benefits of probiotics for dogs with anxious behaviors.
“In searching for a new way to address dogs with anxious behaviors, we focused on the bi-directional communication known as the gut-brain axis — a connection believed to be influenced by the gut microbiota,” said Dr. McGowan, Nestlé Purina Research Scientist. “Scientific evidence has shown that controlling gut bacteria through probiotic administration can have a positive influence on anxious behavior.”
“While anxious behaviors are often thought of as psychological, their effect on a dog’s physiologic state is real,” said Dr. McGowan. “By addressing this at a gut level, veterinarians can offer clients new hope for helping anxious dogs achieve peace of mind.”