We’ve spent more time than ever with our pooches over the lockdown period. But as we gear up to resume life outside the home, how do we prepare our furry friends for the change?
The pandemic has reshaped the way we work, with many businesses looking to trial flexible working as office life resumes. With Brits, on average, expected to spend 5.7 hours daily outside of their homes for work 3.5 days per week, comparethemarket.com talked to pet owners to find out their plans for their pooches once we adapt to the new normal, as well as the common behaviours dogs show when left home alone and how to best tackle them.
When asked what their plans are for their dog once they go back to work, over a third (36%) said their dog will be left home alone. Based on the average days (3.5) and hours (5.7) Brits expect to be outside their homes for work, this means dogs could be left alone for over 19 hours per working week!
For owners who won’t be leaving their pooch home alone, over a quarter (27%) will pay for day care, while 25% will either pay for a dog sitter or a walker. However, it seems some UK cities are prepared to fork out more money than others to ensure their precious pets are well pampered…
Dogs based in Sheffield will be the most spoilt with owners spending £4,160.00 yearly to ensure they’re looked after whilst at work. They’ll be treated to care for around four days per week, paying £20.00 each time. Cardiff takes the second spot with generous paw-rents paying £18.60 daily, for around four days each week, totalling £3,868.80 over the year.
Manchester is revealed as the third top spending city at £3,166.80 per year (£20.30, three days per week) whilst Birmingham owners will fork out £2,589.60 over the year (£16.60, three days per week). Taking the fifth spot is Liverpool where owners are prepared to pay £2,558.40 (£16.40, three days per week).
Owners leaving their pooches home alone once they head back to work should be aware of the common behaviours’ dogs can show when left alone, especially while they’re adjusting to change.
A fifth of owners (20%) say their dog barks or howls when left alone, while 14% say their pup gets upset and cries, with those aged five (50%), three (47%), and four (45%) most likely to display a negative response to being left alone.
Delving further into the behaviour of dogs when home alone, 62% of owners say their pets have destroyed something in reaction to being left alone. The most common types of damage include digging up flowers (28%), chewing clothes and shoes (20%), and staining furnishings by doing their business indoors (20%). Dogs at the age of one (83%) are most likely to misbehave and as a result of this, it comes as no surprise that 18% of owners are often concerned about what they’ll come home to if they’ve left their pooch alone.
Dr. Heather Venkat, veterinarian consultant explains: “Dogs have had their owners around daily for the last year, so it’s natural for them to feel lonely if left alone. If you think they’ll suffer from separation anxiety and in turn, become destructive, try giving your dog an interactive toy to keep them occupied so they’re not worried and don’t have time to cause havoc. There are also many natural chews and supplements out there that can help dogs feel calmer and reduce feelings of anxiety.”
Chris King, head of home insurance at comparethemarket.com, says: “According to our research, a fifth (20%) of owners haven’t informed their home insurance provider that they have a dog, so if their pet causes damage to their home, they risk their claim being rejected.
“With the average cost of rectifying damage caused by dogs at £165.47 per year, if a dog were to live until the average age of 12, owners could pay out a total of £1,985.64 in damage over the years. Because of this, it’s important to check which provider extends their cover to include animals. The best place to check this is in the accidental damage section of the policy. Read what is and isn’t covered and look at whether ‘damage caused by pets’ is excluded. By doing so, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re protected if an issue arises.”