As COVID restrictions lift, many people are returning to work for the first time in months, which may cause their dogs separation anxiety.

Dr. Anne Quain, Veterinarian and lecturer at University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science is especially concerned about puppies adopted during the pandemic who may never have spent time away from their owner.

“Not only do dogs suffer from separation anxiety – their owners and even neighbours can bear the brunt of this distress.”

Signs of separation anxiety include vocalising excessively when alone, destroying furniture etc, trying to escape, salivating, and urinating or defecating in the house.

Dr. Quain said owners should try to avoid making the first time they leave for the entire day, and not to punish dogs for acting out due to their anxiety.

“Dogs should never be punished for their separation anxiety symptoms. Punishment is likely to worsen symptoms and may lead to additional behaviour problems.”

One new owner who is anxious about leaving her dog is Ms Shehana Darda-Teixeira, who adopted a two-year-old Cavoodle during lockdown in February last year, and since then has spent most of his time with someone in the family around him.

“We’ve obviously left him on his own for short periods of time at various stages, but it’s been a very long time since he’s spent a whole day on his own. He can’t cope when one of us walks away from ‘the pack’ when he’s around (he’ll start crying).  While I’m excited about life getting back to normal, I’m worried about how he’ll fare when we’re all out for the day.”