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How to help a dog suffering from separation anxiety

According to a recent survey, a full 41% of those dog owners returning to work said that they'll miss their dogs even more than their kids or spouses.

MAUMEE, Ohio — More and more people are returning to the office after working from home for months and even years during the pandemic.

That's leading to anxiety and stress in pets who have become accustomed to having their people at home.

According to a survey by Wag!, 41% of those dog parents returning to work said that they'll miss their dogs even more than their kids or spouses.

Animal expert and international dog trainer, Tom Davis, said although many pets will react by becoming disruptive and chewing on things while you're gone, easing that anxiety can be done.

"First of all, I think a lot of people wait for their to be a problem with training. You don't want to do that, you want training in the beginning to better the relationship and communication," said Davis. "Second to that would be exercise. Dogs need mental and physical exercise every single day to have clean mental health for sure."

The advice comes at a good time, since Tuesday is Paw Parent Appreciation Day, a day that celebrates the inseparable bond between humans and their pets.

Rachel Kilmer, a Behavior and Training Manager with Toledo Humane Society offers some tips for Separation Anxiety:

Keeping a consistent schedule, whenever possible, is key. Dogs tend to show more separation anxiety-related behaviors when the owner's schedule changes.

"Provide your dog with a shirt that smells like you (that you also won't mind if it gets chewed), as well as a busy toy or two. I usually recommend stuffed frozen Kongs, or any other item that keeps a dog busy," said Kilmer. There's a Facebook group called Canine Enrichment that has lots of great enrichment ideas."

If your dog enjoys playing with other dogs, consider a doggie daycare facility for the days when you're gone for long ours. You can also leave your dog with a friend, family member, or hire a dog walker.

For more severe cases of Separation Anxiety, consulting with a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist, as well as working with a positive reinforcement-based trainer is recommended.

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