How to help your dog avoid separation anxiety when you return to work

As I write this we are on week 8 of lockdown for the Covid19 pandemic. Our pets are in heaven as they have had the kid’s home from school for 8 weeks and most adults are either off work or working from home. Pure heaven for any pet to have company all day, every day, extra treats, extra walks, someone to cuddle with 24/7.  HOWEVER, as our town, province, country and the world starts to slowly reopen this can cause problems for our pets.

I had a chat with local business owner Kaylyn from Wag A While, she is also a Registered Veterinarian Technician – between us, we have about 40 years of experience with dogs and foresee a problem with our beloved fur kids as everyone heads back to work and school.

We hope you find some useful information in this video and I have outlined the tips below.

10 Tips to help your dog avoid separation anxiety when you return to work

TIP 1 – Start now, before you get the call back to work or school.

TIP 2 – The signs of separation anxiety can be very subtle so don’t think because your dog does not does not tear apart the house they are fine.

TIP 3 – Get them back into routine. Walk when you used to when you were working.

TIP 4 – Do things without your dog. Go for a walk as a family WITHOUT your dog, so they get used to being alone again even for a short time.   Do your essential errands without your dog in the car.

TIP 5 – Even if you worked out of the home before and your dog didn’t have separation anxiety then, they could now since they are used to this new “normal”

TIP 6 – If you got a dog just before or during the pandemic, crate train them and get them into routine.

TIP 7 – If dog is crated, put them in even when you are watching TV – make their crate their happy place.

TIP 8 – If you work from home, don’t have your dog at your feet/in the same room as you.    Get them used to not being next to you ALL the time.

TIP 9 –  Have your dog walker come in and take the dog for the walk even just once a week to get them used to being out without you.

TIP 10 – Talk to your vet about Adaptil for dogs or Feliway for cats.  It can help calm some pets and should be started BEFORE you go back to routine.






  1. Derek Swain

    Thank you for explaining how you should occasionally go out with your family without bringing your dog so that they can get adjusted to being by themselves. My wife and I are going on a business trip this summer and need to make sure that our pet Chihuahua doesn’t get lonely since my sister is on vacation and cannot watch him while we’re away. Maybe an animal boarding service can help prevent our pet from getting anxious.

    • Morag Willcox

      Hi Derek,

      Thank you for taking the time to read. Our experience is that dogs are happier in their own familiar environment. If your pup has never been left at a boarding facility before they may get very stressed. Think about it this way. Every time you walk out your front door you come back through it, they know you are coming home. If they are left in a strange and unfamiliar place, no matter how caring and wonderful the care they do not know if you are coming back. I would do some research and contact some in home pet care providers in your area. All the best.

  2. Darrien Hansen

    I didn’t know that your dog may get accustomed to you being around more often and may develop separation anxiety even if they didn’t have it in the past. My cousin needs to drive to another city this weekend in order to help train some new employees at the company that he works at, but his husky tends to whine and tear up furniture whenever she is alone for more than an hour. I wonder if there is a service that can care for his dog while he is away.

    • Morag Willcox

      Hi Darrien,

      Thank you for taking the time to read. Yes, separation anxiety has become a huge issue with families at home so much during COVID. The signs may not always be obvious either. If there is anything we can do to help keep your dog socialized please reach out.


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