Concerns about a rise in separation anxiety in pets as people head back into the office

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 10:27 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - When the COVID-19 pandemic made “working from home” the new normal, our four legged companions became our coworkers, and cancelled social events meant our fur babies were our best friends.

But now, we’ve started a transition back to normalcy.

“It’s going to be a huge shock to dogs now their owners are going to be gone for 8 hours,” Ain’t Misbehavin’ Dog Training & Services Owner Devin Zimmer said.

That’s why Zimmer is concerned separation anxiety in pets could be a part of that new normal, especially for pets that were bought or rescued during the shutdown.

“For dogs where this is all they’ve ever known, yeah it’s going to be a problem,” Zimmer said. “It’s not even just separation anxiety, it’s people coming into the home, they’ve never had people come into the home before, they don’t know what’s happening, and things like that there’s going to be a lot of behavior issues.”

In moderate cases, that could mean whining or chewing on furniture and other things they shouldn’t.

“It’s something you have to work on slowly,” Zimmer said. “I know a lot of people go for doggy daycares.”

But, there’s also severe cases where gradually training them into being alone for a full 8 hours may not be enough.

“The dog is quite literally having a panic attack, a lot of times the dogs won’t touch food, when the owner comes home often they find the dogs have injured themselves either trying to break out of a crate or getting out of whatever room they were in,” Zimmer said. “It’s a long hard road and usually requires medication on board.”

If you’ve noticed any of those behaviors in your pet since returning to work, you can contact Ain’t Misbehavin’ Dog Training & Services for help. You can call or text Zimmer at 859-474-2987 or email at

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