Veterinary Behaviourist to help dogs with separation anxiety post COVID

ToAs COVID-19 restrictions ease in Victoria, bringing a gradual return to work and school, dogs will again be asked to adapt to their owners’ new schedules. After months of quality time at home, this type of sudden change may be stressful for dogs. To help ease the transition, RSPCA Victoria is facilitating an educational webinar all about separation anxiety in our pets and how to manage it.

The webinar will be hosted by RSPCA Victoria’s Veterinary Behaviourist Dr Gabrielle Carter on Tuesday 15 December at 12pm. Dr Carter is one of three Veterinary Behaviorists in Australia. The course aims to explain why separation anxiety develops, how to read the warning signs and address the related issues.

When stay at home restrictions initially commenced, dogs around the state enjoyed a new level of companionship and for many, additional exercise and social interaction. Quality time with owners meant Victorian pets experienced a new way of life and a new level of connection to the humans in their world.

Significant changes to a dog’s routine can create a myriad of behavioural changes that may require management and treatment. This might include teaching the dog how to be calm and relaxed when the owner is absent.

Separation anxiety is characterised by signs of distress when affected animals are separated from an owner or family group to which the animal is attached. Behavioural responses can include toileting in the house, destructiveness, excessive barking, digging or pacing and attempting to escape, among other signs of distress.

Dr Carter believes it’s important to be equipped with information to recognise when our dogs are anxious and understand how to manage it.

“Dogs are highly social animals that prefer to live in groups and many can become anxious when separated from their owners,” said Dr Carter.

“Anxiety in pets can be stressful for both pets and their owners so it’s important that we can recognise changes in our dogs’ normal behaviour and understand how to help our dogs when they are anxious.

“Months of restrictions created significant changes to routines, and now we face more changes as life returns to a new normal. It’s now more important than ever for dog owners to understand how to recognise and treat symptoms of separation anxiety.”

The webinar will address questions such as whether a second dog for company can help ease anxiety and how to manage separation anxiety without using medications. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the webinar.

As a trusted and collaborative organisation, providing proactive support for the community to care for their animals and improve animal welfare, RSPCA Victoria is offering the Separation Anxiety in Dogs webinar as a useful tool that is sure to benefit many Victorians and their canine companions.

The Separation Anxiety in Dogs webinar costs $25 – head to rspcavic.org/separationanxiety

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