Dogs more stressed at vet due to pandemic restrictions, U of G study says
KITCHENER -- The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, including how pets visit the veterinarian.
A study released earlier this month from the University of Guelph said dogs are more anxious at the vet because their owners can't come in with them.
"We'll either come out and collect the pet or they are bringing them to the front door and we basically have to take the pet away from the owner," Dr. Jennifer Madden from the Kitchener South Animal Hospital said. "That's where the problem lies."
The new solo routine is stressing out some pups.
"When they finally realize that Mom and Dad aren't coming with them, then they are getting a bit stressed," Dr. Madden said.
A U of G study found dogs are more anxious at the vet when they aren't able to see their owners. Dogs without their owners had increased heart rates, higher body temperatures and showed signs of fear.
"Reduced posture, which will be lowered ears, crouched body, tucked tail," Anastasia Stellato with the U of G said. "You'll see some avoidance behaviour."
The researchers believe it may be more common for pets whose owners are working from home.
"Particularly, I think, with the fact that owners are with their dogs more so than ever," Stellato said.
"We're seeing a lot of separation anxiety because they're not having that independent time from their owners," Dr. Madden said.
Many clinics ask owners to wait outside due to COVID-19 protocols.
"I don't mind, because of safety," owner Michelle Fox said. "I think it's a great way for the clinic to keep open and have everyone in there protected."
Researchers suggest practicing exam-style handling at home by touching dogs' ears, mouth or other body parts in the same way a vet would.
It can also help to bring along the dog's favourite treat.