Your dog could experience major 'separation anxiety' after lockdown, expert warns

While our four-legged pals might be overjoyed at the amount of time we're spending with them, an expert has warned that getting back to normal after lockdown could lead to some doggies in distress.

Animal psychologist Dr Roger Mugford, a consultant to the Royal Family, warned pet owners that their pooches might suffer separation anxiety once we're all back at school and work.

In an interview with The Times, he said: "With such an overload of quality time with their families, dogs are building up a huge reservoir of over-dependency which could see them suffer when mums and dads suddenly return to work and the children go back to school.

"The lockdown is such a massive change in routine. When it's lifted it's going to be a huge shock for dogs. That's why structured, short training periods of separation are really important."

You can prepare your pup for post-lockdown life by giving them short "separation breaks" - putting them in a separate room in the house for about 30 minutes or so a few times a day will help them get accustomed to the idea of being on their own again.

The risks of not preparing your dog to be home alone can lead to bad habits such as barking, howling, pacing and urinating inside.

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.