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Pandemic pups Pet experts reveal how to prepare your dog for your return to work

It’s really really worrying because dogs can get separation anxiety and if their human suddenly disappears, they think their world is ending"

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Retriever puppy

Retriever puppy

Retriever puppy

A whopping 88% of dog owners say that their furry friends have helped them emotionally or mentally during the Covid-19 pandemic, new data has found. 

Research from The Kennel Club indicates that thousands of pet owners have found their canine companions to be a huge comfort over lockdown.

More people than ever have enjoyed the company of a pandemic pup with a 400% increase in Google searches for the term "buying a puppy" over the last year.

Three-quarters of dog owners agreed that they spent more time with their four-legged friends during the pandemic and shared that their pups kept them active, provided them with a routine, and alleviated anxiety.

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, said: “Dogs continue to be an important source of emotional support for their owners during the pandemic, reducing loneliness during lockdown and helping us cope mentally during the crisis.

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Jenny Campbell's retriever puppy

Jenny Campbell's retriever puppy

Jenny Campbell's retriever puppy

Dogs Trust Ireland’s Corina Fitzsimons says that dogs have been the “heroes of lockdown” and a “source of joy and comfort” for many people.

However, while we are spending more quality time with our furry friends during lockdown, this may cause separation anxiety for them down the line when people return to work.

Corina said that she fears that dogs will be “pushed to the sidelines” when normality resumes.

She told sundayworld.com: “What we fear is that dogs are going to be pushed to the sidelines when people return to their normal lives. We are really quite concerned about the volumes of unwanted dogs by the end of this year.

“It’s really really worrying because dogs can get separation anxiety and if their human suddenly disappears, they think their world is ending. They don’t know you’ve gone to the shops for five minutes.”

Corina added that the best way to prepare pups for being left at home when people return to work is to ease them into it by leaving them for shorter periods at a time.

“What we say to people is over the course of the next few months is to leave for five minutes then ten minutes so that your dog knows that you’re coming back.

“Lots of puppies haven’t been left alone over the pandemic and can then develop separation anxiety from this. You can start it really gradually by being in a different room while they’re downstairs with something to chew on,” she continued.

“If at all possible, you should exercise your dog before you go to work.

"Generally, when they exercise they get relaxed and gets rid of all that pent-up energy so they’re not waiting for you to come back.”

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