10 Jun Celeb vet Emma Milne offers advice on how to ease our pups (and ourselves) out of lockdown
DOGS have enjoyed having exclusive access to their owners during lockdown, as we go back to spending more time out of the house, Celeb Vet Emma Milne has shared her top tricks and tips on how to properly adjust your pup to the changes.
Vets are warning of an increase in emotional problems for many pets and owners are expressing the same concerns. A recent study by pet flea and tick treatment experts FRONTLINE® found two in five owners say that they are worried about their dogs for when the lockdown is fully lifted while 42% say their dogs will be confused when their owners start to be home a lot less.
Sudden changes in routine can cause our furry friends stress and separation anxiety. Pet owners should look out for symptoms of stress like aggression, excessive barking and destructive behaviour as we move out of lockdown.
Emma, one of the most well-known vets in Britain, has shared her top 5 tips to help your pet adjust:
1) Start now! The recent research showed one in five Brits say that since lockdown started, their pets have become more clingy when they leave the room and a further one in five say they’ve noticed a lot more restlessness in their dogs. There are no quick fixes for behaviour problems and as with all things, prevention is better than cure. Start to put practices into use now so that you can see that they work, and your dog still has the comfort of you being around.
2) Start cutting the apron strings. Your dog will be used to you being there all the time and, as is human nature, you have probably been spending all your time interacting with them because you can. Start now to reduce that interaction. Do not let your dog follow you everywhere in the house. Using a baby gate can help because you can get some physical separation while your dog can still see and hear you. Don’t make a big fuss every time you leave the room, this only creates signals that you are about to go. If you are calm and relaxed your dog will pick up on that.
3) Soothing music or voices can help some dogs, especially if they are frightened of outside noise. But use this now while you are there. If you put music on every time you are about to leave it simply acts as another cue that you are about to go. Spotify, in partnership with FRONTLINE®, has released the Pawfect Playlist for dogs, with songs chosen to soothe, and affirmations talking to your dog between tracks. Start by playing the playlist starting at alternate songs in different rooms and have a quiet place too. Freedom of choice is very important for animal welfare and well-being, and your dog can choose what environment they want to be in.
4) Start to think now about things your dog can do and enjoy when you are gone and offer them while you are there. This way you can make sure it does make them relaxed and happy and that it works. This could be a lovely comfortable bed, soothing sounds, puzzle games or feeders, a favourite toy. Make sure your dog has a safe place where he/she can go to escape you and the kids! This way they can take themselves off when they need some peace and quiet.
5) Seek help. If you think your dog has or is going to have serious issues seek expert help sooner rather than later. Make sure you speak to a recognised behaviour expert. Look for accreditation with ABTC, APBC or a CCAB.