Stressed dogs when owners go back to offices? These are the warning signs

Many new puppies bought during lockdown could face stress as restrictions ease

Many new puppies bought during lockdown could face stress as restrictions ease - Credit: Martin Phelps/Blue Cross

Dogs and especially puppies could be stressed as owners go back to work, the Blue Cross is warning.

Owners may be eagerly looking forward to lockdown restrictions easing - but the animal charity, which has a rehoming centre at Wherstead near Ipswich, fears some dogs may struggle and develop behaviour issues.

It also fears nationally thousands of dogs could be sold online, or even abandoned as a result. Over the last year, the charity has received more than 500 calls to its behaviour lines.

Many dogs have got used to their owners being at home during lockdown

Many dogs have got used to their owners being at home during lockdown - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Claire Haynes, animal behaviourist at Blue Cross, said: “Dogs like routine and the new normal may be confusing and stressful for them.

"They are about to lose their owners to their office when they’ve become used to them being around, or may need to be taken on public transport. All very stressful changes for our pets.

“Owners don’t always notice the signs of stress in their dogs, or misread them. In the most serious cases, stress could lead to unwanted behaviours, such as aggression and health problems.”

The charity is especially concerned over puppies who have not had normal life experiences during lockdown.

Claire said: “Owners should be planning ahead and making gradual changes to their routines now to ensure their pets are ready for the new normal."

There has been a surge in new dog ownership over the last year, and, with some people having paid out large sums, the charity fears some owners may look to sell pets online to recoup some of their financial investment.

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Blue Cross has released new advice to help owners to spot and tackle signs of stress, which may be being missed or misunderstood.

It is also urging people who may be struggling with a pet’s behaviour to seek support and advice from a charity or registered trainer, rather than selling the animal on.

Signs your dog might be stressed include: Loss of appetite; Backing away from someone or something, or even hiding away; Tail tucked between their legs; Cowering (shrinking down or crouching); Diarrhoea or increased bowel movements; Trembling or shivering (when they’re not cold or excited); Aggression.

More subtle signs include: Yawning – unless your dog is tired; Excessive panting – often with a curled tip of their tongue instead of relaxed; Pacing back and forth; Licking their lips when not eating or drinking; Ears pinned back, perhaps with their head down or turning away; Dilated pupils or red around the eyes; Whites of their eyes showing (whale eye; Lifting up their paw.

For more advice visit the Blue Cross website or call the charity's team on  0300 777 1975  for behaviour support.

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