Animal experts say managing pets’ mental health would be an ‘ongoing issue’ as we return to work and socializing.

When Melburnian Anni O’Donnell used to arrive home from work, her sausage dog, Ziggy, would be excited to see her. Since lockdown, though, “he cries and wiggles his body for a good five minutes”.

“He even does it for short periods of time, like a five-minute pop to the shops,” O’Donnell said.

“I already worried about leaving him for long stretches pre-Covid but now I’m so used to him by my side it feels weird without him. I have the guilt of knowing he has worse separation anxiety on top of missing him.”

Three-year-old Ziggy is one of many “pandemic puppies” grappling with separation anxiety as lockdown restrictions ease and their owners return to the office and socialize more – leading to a spike in demand for health and wellness products for pets.

Greencross Vets veterinary surgeon Dr. Lucy Asher said she’d seen many pandemic puppies who’d never been left alone or learnt independence, which was provoking pet owners to turn to the market for help.

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