As discussed, separation anxiety is a fear or phobia of either being alone or being separated from a preferred human, caregiver, animal, or other source of comfort.
This will probably sound familiar to a lot of pet owners – as many as 40% of dog owners in the UK reported their dog experiencing separation anxiety, according to Petplan’s Pet Census 2018, a number that is expected to rise sharply as a result of the pandemic. Much as many humans will find the eventual return to normal routine quite jarring, our pets may struggle with readaptation too. After a year-and-a-half of having near-continuous human contact, it should come as no surprise that suddenly leaving the house again to visit the office, friends or family will come as quite a shock to our pets now-embedded routines.
However, despite being so common in the UK’s companion animals, many are unaware of what separation anxiety is, what signs to look for, and – especially for those who are faced with a now anxious pet – knowing what to do and where to turn for help.
For many years we’ve seen the unfortunate side of this, when owners have been quite overwhelmed by an animal developing this disorder. We hope that by providing further information on the topic, we can help reassure and support pet owners who are struggling.