A ruff time: Over 1 in 4 Maryland pet owners fear post-lockdown separation anxiety from their pet when they return to work, reveals survey.

by Mira-Pet

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Howl I ever live without you? If you and your pet have shared a home during the lockdown, you will understand the importance of having them around during these stressful times. As many Americans have spent lockdown working, living, sleeping, and exercising in their houses, pets are now used to having their humans home all day, which could pose potential emotional stress or separation anxiety when things return to usual – for both humans and their pet counterparts…

Mira-Pet, leading specialists in oral hygiene technology for pets, conducted a survey of 3,000 pet owners across the U.S., which revealed that over 1 in 4 pet owners in Maryland (27%) fear separation anxiety from their pet when they return to work once lockdown has been fully lifted. It appears many pet owners have developed stronger emotional bonds with their animals during this stressful pandemic period than before it happened. This highlights the positive influence pets can have on your general wellbeing and health, particularly in times of adversity.

After months in lockdown, your pet is used to you being home all day but what happens if you are an employee who is required to go back into the office after the pandemic has eased? Or if your weekly excursions become more regular than a couple of trips to the grocery stores? While cats are typically more comfortable in their own company, dogs will feel the separation more. A quarter (26%) of pet owners say they are worried their pet will have separation anxiety when lockdown restrictions are fully lifted and they spend less time at home.

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If you wonder why sometimes you find yourself welling up with emotion at the mere thought of your pooch, or why Marley and Me made you cry for days afterward, you are certainly not alone. There is an explanation* for the therapeutic effects caused by the presence of an animal, called social recognition, which is identifying another being as someone significant in your life. It is suggested that the bond between pet and owner is similar to that formed with a mother and child. Healthy social relationships – including humans and pets – can play a key role in mental wellbeing, which is why without them, we may feel depressed, lonely, and unwell. This explains why 73% of pet owners say their furry friend has helped them with their mental health during the lockdown. For socially isolated people such as those in lockdown alone, pets can actually be a lifeline.

It seems many owners are even willing to sacrifice a portion of their salary to be at home with their pets more! 38% of pet owners say they would consider a small pay cut in order to continue working from home after lockdown so their pet wouldn’t be lonely.

Moreover, over half (57%) of people think that having an office pet would boost team spirit and increase productivity. Perhaps this means a Bring Your Pet to Work policy should be introduced!

The survey also revealed that 74% of pet owners say their animal’s hygiene levels were higher during the lockdown. Being able to slow things down due to the pandemic seems to be beneficial to the overall health of America’s pets, as it means their owners have more time to care for their animals – especially considering they are sharing a living space for a considerable part of each day!

Just like humans, pets can be at risk of various physiological issues if they aren’t in tip-top health. A common misconception among dog owners is that there is no need to worry about their pooch’s oral health. However, dental and periodontal ailments are actually one of the most significant health problems in domestic dogs, which means it is crucial to ensure your dog’s teeth are kept clean.

There are countless positive aspects of spending so much time with your pet during the lockdown. 65% of respondents say it was the companionship their pet provided; 19% say it reduced their anxiety; 9% said their pet became more affectionate; 5% say they felt safer being in lockdown with their pet, and 2% said their pet encouraged them to be more active.

Of course, there are also negative aspects of being in lockdown with your pet, including the fact that they are the kind to follow you everywhere – including to the bathroom! 45% of people said the worse aspect was that their pet is very loud, 24% said it was having to clean up their pet’s mess more regularly, 17% said their pet was a distraction from work and 14% said it was their pet’s bad breath that made it the hardest.

‘Not only will your pet find it difficult to re-adjust to their human not being around, as a pet owner, but you are also likely to experience similar feelings of separation anxiety from your warm, compassionate furry friend’ ‘To ease the emotional stress you may feel, if you have a housekeeper or loved one who is home during the day, you could ask them to video call you so you can check in on your pet! If you live alone, this option is slightly trickier but not impossible as there are also an abundance of devices available online, such as webcams specifically for your pets!

Stephen Spector, CEO of Techmira Corp