Unexpected post-COVID backlash: Separation anxiety for pets, owners

More than 1 in 4 Wisconsin pet owners fear phenomenon if normalcy ever returns
Valentine’s Day: By the numbers

CANTON, Mass. (WKBT) — More than 1 in 4 Wisconsin pet owners fear separation anxiety from their pets when they return to work after working at home for months during the COVID-19 lockdown.
That’s one of the discoveries that Mira-Pet, which is regarded as a leader in oral hygiene technology for dogs, made in a survey of 3,000 pet owners across the United States.
More than two-thirds of pet owners nationally said their pets help them maintain mental health during the lockdown.
And almost 40 percent of pet owners said they would consider taking a small pay cut to continue working from home after the lockdown is lifted.
Lonely CatMira-Pets’ report includes an interactive slide show with tips on how to ease your pet’s separation anxiety when you return to work.
While indications early on in the lockdown were that pets were having trouble adjusting to having their owners around so much, they eventually became accustomed to the situation.
Now that both have become used to the others’ presence, one or both could experience emotional stress or separation anxiety when — if — things return to former habits.
“It appears many pet owners have developed stronger emotional bonds with their animals during this stressful pandemic period than before it happened,” notes Mira-Pet, which is headquartered in Canton.
“This highlights the positive influence pets can have on your general well-being and health, particularly in times of adversity,” according to the company.
Other positive findings in the survey include:
• 65% of respondents say they welcomed the companionship their pets provide.
• 19% say the pets reduced their anxiety.
• 9% believe that their pets became more affectionate.
• 5 percent say they felt safer being in lockdown with their pets.
• 2% say their pet encouraged them to be more active.
Then there are the negatives:
• Many pets follow their owners everywhere, including into the bathroom.
• 45% counted their pets’ loudness as the worse aspect.
• 24% said they didn’t like having to clean up after their pets so much more often.
• 17% said their pets were a distraction from work.
• 14% said their pets’ bad breath the togetherness difficult — not necessarily a surprising survey question for a business that specializes in pets’ oral hygiene and even markets an award-winning ultrasound toothbrush for pets.
One more thing: Those who would consider accepting a pay cut if they could keep working from home might keep this in mind: The Mira-Pet toothbrush starter kit to clean teeth and remove tartar costs $239.