Dogs are having separation anxiety as owners return to work – and there’s transition services

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While pandemic puppies are being returned to animal shelters at alarming rates, pets whose owners are keeping them aren’t quite in heaven.

Many dogs have grown used to having their moms and dads working at home and are experiencing separation anxiety as their owners go back to their offices.

The separation anxiety is so real that dog day cares, veterinarians and websites are offering services to help the animals and their owners with the transition.

‘We are getting lots of calls from people going back to work. People want to be reassured that their dogs will not be alone,’ Dogstown University owner Adam Feingold told the South Florida Sun Sentinel last week. ‘They have been attached at the hip for a year. We work it through with them.’

Dogstown University in Deerfield Beach, Florida, has a doggy day care center and offers overnight boarding.

The website Petmate which says it is ‘passionate about delivering peace of mind to pet owners with quality products’ has put together recommendations for preparing animals for the day their owners go back to their work lives outside.

Petmate suggests crafting a new routine for pets so they can get accustomed to specific times for eating, walking, playing and resting.

‘No matter how hard it might be, you have to start leaving them alone,’ Petmate wrote.

During the pandemic last year, Lindsay Beattie of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, fostered a purebred shih tzu, Moose, to accompany Doc, her 12-year-old shih tzu mix. 

She decided to keep Moose, now 18 months old, but ran into an issue with the puppy now that she has to start traveling for work again. She has hired dog sitters to stay home to help them transition. 

‘The older one is happy when I leave,’ Beattie said. ‘The younger one is like, “How dare you?” That creates anxiety for me. He is so spoiled.

Therapist Karyn Hoffman said owners who are worried about leaving their furry friends at home should know that they will be OK in the end.

‘We’ve all gone so long without socializing and travel,’ she said. ‘The benefits to us will outweigh the separation anxiety.’

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