The coronavirus has changed our lives and of course that of our furry companions, our pets, who are forced to spend less time on the street exercising and more in the houses with their owners. What might seem a priori an opportunity to enjoy more time together, may end up becoming a problem for many of our pets, who will have to get used to being alone again when everything returns to normal. In fact, experts warn: dogs are more exposed to suffering separation anxiety. A problem that affects their quality of life and that of the rest of the family.
– Related: The most independent dog breeds
“Changes in routines, such as this intense one that we are experiencing, can trigger the appearance of some separation-related disorder in dogs. Especially in those who show hyperawareness (excess dependency), towards their caretaker,” says the ethologist Adriana Mármol, veterinarian of the Triavet clinic, in Sant Cugat del Vallés. “The dog will go from being accompanied by his family all day, back to the long hours of solitude at home. Obviously, this will be more likely in those animals that already have a predisposition to show these problems, or those that have already have been successfully treated for this behavioral pathology. In these cases, we will have to be prepared for a possible relapse, “he warns.
In the same vein, the technical director of Kivet Veterinary Clinics, Belén López, expresses: “Obviously, our pets are spending more time with us than their routines marked, but the same happens when we are on vacation or if we are convalescing. Back to routine and being separated again will depend a lot on the relationship we have with our pet. A pet that lives inside the house is not the same as another that spends most of its time in the garden. The species also influences a lot: it is not what A cat, which tends to be more independent, than a dog. There are also other factors such as the age of the animal that can influence when developing separation anxiety, “he points out.
– Related: How to train a dog well?
Prepare them for deconfusion
If the coronavirus quarantine has caught us with a puppy at homeWe must take great care of your education to prevent you from developing these behavior problems. “We have to gradually get them used to spending time alone. For example, and since we cannot go out, leave them in a room in the house where there are no other members of the family. It is vital that any puppy (and not only in the context that we are living), learn to be alone properly, to prevent future behavioral problems, “advises Adriana Mármol.
We should also avoid having our dog all day on top. “It is necessary to mark your space inside the house well defined, as well as the play and / or contact routines. In short, trying to make sure that we all have a ‘schedule’. If we are listening to them all day, stroking them, playing, etc. The end of the confinement will be more complicated for them, since they will go from having all the attention to being alone, “continues Belén López.
In puppies, it is especially important to do it very gradually and always associated with something positive. “We can achieve this by offering interactive toys that can be filled with food that you like, or by using the olfactory mat. Once you are entertained with these games, we will leave the room for a few moments and we will return very quickly, without hardly noticing. our absence. Little by little, and as long as there is no negative reaction, we will increase the times. The objective is to teach him: nothing happens by being alone, even positive things happen when that happens, “explains the ethologist from Triavet, in Sant Cugat.
How to treat anxiety
In this sense, and as it was said at the beginning, it is very important not to reinforce a hyperapego, that is, “if our dog shows excessive behaviors by trying to always be by our side, we have to be very careful not to reinforce them”, alerts Adriana Marble.
And, of course, at the slightest symptom of a separation-related disorder, or if we have doubts about whether we are doing it right, we should contact a behavioral professional who works positively and can help us.
– Related: The best dog breeds to stay home alone