RSPCA urges dog owners to make plans for their pets as Wales takes big step towards normalcy on Saturday
RSPCA Cymru is urging dog owners across Wales to make plans for their pets as life in the country takes a big step toward normalcy this Saturday.
The Welsh government has announced that most of the Covid-related restrictions in Wales will end, meaning people will have more opportunities to live their lives in a similar way to the restrictions first introduced in last march.
In Wales, advice remains to work from home if possible – but the reopening of the premises and the end of limits on the number of people who can meet inside means that many people are expected to return to their places of work and spend more time away from home.
RSPCA Cymru urges all dog owners to make a plan to help their pets cope with the sudden change in routine.
Dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA’s Pets Department, said: “We know that 47% of households in Wales own a pet – and dogs are the country’s most popular companion; with many of them adding a dog to their homes for the first time during closings. “
“But research suggests that about eight in 10 dogs may find it difficult to cope when left alone.”
“When we go out to stores or go to work, our dogs can get very anxious or worried. Some dogs may find it difficult to do nothing or be frightened by loud noises outside.
“But a lot of dogs bond with us very much and don’t like to be alone. “
“If they haven’t learned that being alone is a positive experience it can be very difficult – so ending restrictions in Wales could be a real challenge for the nation’s dogs.”
“As the latest Covid restrictions in Wales end, we know many people will be spending more time out and around; and maybe away from their new canine companion.
“So it is very important that we help them learn to cope with being left at home and that we gradually teach them to be alone in a positive way. “
“We urge owners to think about this before returning to their workplace, or spending more time outdoors, and come up with a plan to help their dogs cope with this change in routine.”
Make a perfect plan
The RSPCA released a new video to help owners prepare their dogs and also posted a “text message exchange” between a dog and its owner to highlight what dogs can feel when left home alone.
The charity urges homeowners to make a plan now before returning to work or spending more time away from home:
Talk to your employer; Is there a way to split your time between home and office to cut down on your dog’s time alone at home?
Dog-friendly office; could you take your dog to work with you? Is it safe and would your dog love the experience?
Friends and family; do you have a friend, relative or neighbor who could hang out with your pooch while you are outside?
Employ a professional; Consider hiring a professional dog walker (remember to use our guidelines for walking your dog to find a good dog walker) to take your pet out.
Day care for dogs; Enroll your pooch in a doggy day care center for a fun day while you’re at work.
Ask for help; film your dog when left alone and if you notice any signs that your dog is struggling it is important to seek the help of a clinical animal behaviorist (we can help you find a good behaviorist) and make a training plan to introduce abandonment gradually and in a positive way.
Dr Gaines added: “Sadly, the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association has found that 11% of new owners in the UK have already given up on a pet – and we fear this is just the start of what could become the biggest dog welfare crisis in a generation. “
“Behavioral issues are one of the main reasons dogs are abandoned in rescue centers and we are already starting to see ‘pandemic puppies’ entering our care.”
“Some dogs who find it difficult to be alone at home may exhibit behaviors typically associated with stress and anxiety, such as barking, grooming in the house, or being destructive. “
“But others may not give clear signals that they are struggling and may often suffer in silence.”
“Many dogs can find the changes in our routine very disturbing, so it is very important to introduce the changes gradually. “
“Please be #DogKind, understand your pet’s needs, prepare now and help them be happy and healthy for the long haul. Otherwise, we fear the biggest dog welfare crisis in a generation, and millions of dogs suffer every day when their owners go to work. “
Five Steps To Helping Your Dog Settle In At Home:
Encourage your dog to go to bed and stay
Gradually move away
Use lots of praise and rewards
Gradually increase time and distance
Repeat the steps if your dog struggles