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DOGS DURING LOCKDOWN:A SURVEY by ADAPTIL®

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted and changed our everyday lives. In many countries citizens have been required to stay at home during a period of lockdown.

ADAPTIL® conducted an international survey during April and May 2020 to understand the effects of lockdown on our dogs’ wellbeing.

In A Few Words…

This survey revealed that 25% of owners felt that this period has been stressful for their dog, mostly due to the inevitable changes in household routines.

38% of owners noticed several changes in their dog’s behaviour, such as being more attention seeking, closer to them, more affectionate, but also barking more or being more anxious.

When used during containment, ADAPTIL® helped dogs in 69% of households.

Among the 41% of owners who felt there had been a change in the relationship with their dog during lockdown, 95% found the relationship to be better. 77% of owners have spent more time with their dogs during containment.

38% of owners believe that the end of lockdown will be a stressful time for their dog and 29% of them plan to support their dog during this time by using ADAPTIL® while 20% plan to walk their dog more often.

Changes during lockdown

The majority of dog owners (64%) considered lockdown has not been stressful for their dogs, however 25% of owners thought their dog had found this time to be stressful.

For those owners, the main causes of stress are the change in routine as a result of lockdown whether it was for themselves (64%) or their dog (52%). Dog owners also felt that their dog could feel their own stress (46%).

38% of owners noticed a change in their dog during lockdown, reflecting both positive changes and those negatively associated with stress - 26% owners said their dog was more anxious compared to only 13% who felt their dog was more relaxed during this time.

The most reported changes were linked to dogs spending time with their owner, with 49% owners observing an increase in their dog attention seeking, and 39% owners saying that their dog was closer to the family during this time. 32% felt their dog was more affectionate towards them.

26% owners noticed that their dog was more anxious, and there were many dogs that were showing signs of stress such as barking, being agitated, whining.

Support during lockdown

Many owners anticipated that this time would be stressful for their dogs and prepared to support their furry friend with a variety of techniques: using ADAPTIL®, playing with their dog, training activities…

69% felt that ADAPTIL® has been helping their dog during this time (surely this is similar to the percentage of humans that have found chocolate comforting during containment?).

The majority of owners (60%) have been playing with their dog, with 25% of owners buying new toys for their dog during lockdown. Training is an excellent way to strengthen the relationship with a dog whilst avoiding the dog getting bored: owners have been sensitive to this and 53% have taken advantage of this lockdown period to teach their dogs new tricks.

A better relationship during lockdown

41% of owners felt that their relationship with their dog has changed during lockdown, with the vast majority of those saying it has improved (95%).

This is very likely due to one of the ‘benefits’ of lockdown – the opportunity to spend more time with our pets; 83% of dog owners said they have been able to spend more time with their dog.

Preparation for the end of lockdown

At the time of the survey, many countries were announcing a second phase easing the lockdown measures and it is interesting to see how dog owners are anticipating this second phase:

· 38% believe that the easing of lockdown will be stressful for their dog

· 47% feel this will not be stressful

· while 15% are not sure

Almost 1 in 4 dogs faces issues when being alone (23% before lockdown in this survey). For these dogs, containment has been a very, very, happy period, with their owners being home with them most of time. But they might not appreciate at all the separation with their owners at the end of lockdown.

Dog owners that are preparing for the end of lockdown are considering different measures to support their dog which include the use of ADAPTIL® (29%), walking their dog more often 20% or trying to make time to be at home more (16%).

Conclusion

This large survey found that lockdown across countries has been accompanied with significant changes in daily routines for dog owners and their dogs, leading to more time spent together. Lockdown naturally provided many owners with more time to spend with their dog and many owners reported the relationship with their dog to be better.

Many dogs have adapted to the changes in a variety of ways, including seeking more attention and interaction with their owners, but also showing agitation or signs of stress. There are going to be further changes that come with the easing of lockdown and supporting our furry friends during this time will be important too.

There are different ways to help dogs cope which the situation, such as keeping them physically and mentally stimulated (walks, training, playtime) as well as creating a relaxing environment in the home with the comforting messages provided by ADAPTIL®.

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