Vet reveals how to help your dog cope with life after lockdown

How to help your DOG cope with life after lockdown: Vet advises tackling a rise in separation anxiety by slowly reducing contact and playing ‘soothing music’ to drown out noise

  • Emma Milne, 48, from UK, shared tips on how to properly adjust pup to changes
  • Comes after vets warn of increase in emotional problems for pets after lockdown
  • Advice includes starting process now and seeking professional help if needed

Dogs have enjoyed being showered with attention during lockdown as their owners have been forced to spend more time at home.   

But as we go back to spending more time out of the house, vets are warning of an increase in emotional problems for many pets. 

A recent study conducted by flea and tick treatment brand FRONTLINE found two in five owners are worried about their dogs for when the lockdown is fully lifted.

With sudden changes in routine causing our furry friends stress and separation anxiety, pet owners should look out for symptoms including aggression, excessive barking and destructive behaviour.

Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, Emma Milne, from the UK, who stars in BBC One programme Vets in Practice, has shared her top tips on how to properly adjust your pup for life after lockdown – including playing soothing music and seeking professional help.

Celebrity vet Emma Milne has shared her top tricks and tips on how to properly adjust your pup to the changes following lockdown. Stock image

START SLOWLY NOW 

Recent research showed that one in five Brits found their pets have become more clingy since lockdown started – with a further one in five saying they’ve noticed a lot more restlessness in their dogs when they leave the room. 

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.

BEGIN TO REDUCE INTERACTION 

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.

Emma Milne has spoken exclusively to FEMAIL. Pictured, on This Morning on 20 September 2017

PLAY SOOTHING SOUNDS 

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.  

Start by playing a soothing playlist, beginning 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.

TEST OUT YOUR METHOD 

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 anything from a lovely comfortable bed, soothing sounds, puzzle games or feeders, or even 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.

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.

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