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Returning to the office? Don’t forget your dog

If you’ve been staying home during covid and spending all of your time with your dog, you might notice when it’s time to go back to work that your dog has developed some separation issues.

By: Dr. Mary Burch, Animal Behaviourist and the Director of AKC Family

Last Updated:

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Header photo: Nadezhda Buyanowa/

Separation anxiety in dogs can be caused by a sudden change in the schedule, a move to a new house or the sudden absence of a family member, whether it’s a divorce, a death in the family or even an owner who is going back to work post-covid.

If your dog has separation issues, there are some things you can do:

First, be proactive. Before you have to go back to work:

Practice separation. Leave your dog for very short periods of time at first, then gradually lengthen the time away.

Exercise. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you leave so he can rest comfortably.

Food and water. Give your dog food and water before you leave (your dog should have clean water throughout the day). This, along with exercise, ensures all of your dog’s physical needs are met.

Interactive toys. Leave your dog with an interactive toy to relieve stress and keep the dog busy.

Develop a quick “goodbye” ritual. This can be as simple as saying, “Watch the house,” or “I’ll be right back.” Then, Leave in a calm manner. Don’t make a big dramatic deal out of leaving. You want your dog to know this is okay and you come home every time you leave.

Veterinarian. If your dog’s separation issues are severe and don’t quickly improve, talk to your dog’s veterinarian about the problem.


Keep your pup busy and engaged while they're home alone with these boredom buster toys

Last Updated:

By: Dr. Mary Burch, Animal Behaviourist and the Director of AKC Family
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