2020 has been a good year for pets but will 2021 be one too?
Our lives have been totally disrupted and put on hold over the last year with Covid, with Brexit looming and an incompetent self serving Tory Government it has been pretty much an annus horribilis.
However it has been an excellent year for our pets!! Pets have never had us at home for such extended periods of time; families have been able to spend quality time for their pets. From a veterinary point of view, we have been able to pick up clinical disease earlier as clients have noticed problems at a more seminal moment.
More people have taken on homeless dogs, in some cases fostered but in most cases as a ‘forever home’. This is great as there will always be pets out there that will need a home.
As we move into 2021 and as the population is vaccinated against Covid things will slowly go back to normal .( please don’t be sucked into the conspiracy theories about vaccinations , when they come get vaccinated asap) With that people will go back to their normal work ,recreational and holiday patterns will return to normal , sooner than later people are forecasting in my opinion. This will bring problems at home with our pets!!
My main worry is the separation anxiety that I am sure will become apparent in our pets as soon as the normality returns. Our dogs and cats have been used to having us around the house for extended periods and many will become stressed and disorientated when suddenly they are left ‘abandoned’ at home.
- Separation anxiety can be manifested in many ways:
- Destructive behaviour when left alone
- Aggressiveness , especially with other pets
- Urinating and defaecating in house or not using litter tray
- Howling and barking when left alone
- Become excessively attached when you return home after a period away
- Eating disorders, can lead to excess or reduced eating . Coprophagia in some cases .
- Panting , trembling and pacing
What owners need to do is try and mitigate and any problems that may arise over the next few months by starting to take action now.
Primarily start getting the animal to spend periods of time on its own. Don’t let your pet follow you around the house 24/7, keep them in rooms separate to yourself even when you are in the house, get them used to time alone. Maybe put on a radio or telly on for them so that there is some distraction.
Don’t let your pets sleep in the same bedroom as yourselves; make sure there is a separation between yourselves and them.
Don’t submit to their requests; for example, don’t feed them when they ask. Feed them on your terms.
Change dog walking patterns to ones more in tune to what will happen when life returns to normal. This will also help with toilet issues in the future.
The other major problem that I see arising over the next year and beyond will be unwanted pets that have been taken on over lockdown. This genuinely worries me and I see this being a future issue.
When life returns to normal people will start to travel again, weekends away, more nights out etc etc . These pets that have been a lifeline to a lot of people and have kept many individuals sane and accompanied over Covid will suddenly become an encumbrance and a cost, often cases will be closely linked to separation anxiety issues. I have seen this many times over my career , I have heard all the excuses known to mankind, sudden ‘allergies’ develop, suddenly house gets too small, suddenly the dogs doesn’t get on with the owner , etc , the list is endless. I just hope that we don’t see too many of these cases over the next year.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a much better year than the one we are coming out off, wishing you all health and happiness , and TAKE THE COVID VACCINE so that life returns to a semblance of normality the soonest possible.