One in four dogs suffering from depression
In a new study published over a quarter of Britain’s dogs are suffering from depression because of the stress of being left alone while their owners are at work.
Animals are showing symptoms of depression such as pacing, spinning on the spot, howling, defecating and self-harming due to their owners that work long hours or if they return to work.
The findings were discovered as part of a documentary called Alone Dogs which will be shown on channel 4 later this year. A spokes person said that "For some dogs the consequences can be shocking, including pacing and spinning on the spot.
"Others were seen barking and howling for long periods, defecating and even self-harming."
Dr John Bradshaw said that if dogs are used to being with humans then by taking away the human can pose a difcciult situation for the dog.
"Dogs have a very powerful link to humans. You can train a dog to do all sorts of things and understand our gestures.
"We expect to turn all that off by saying [to our dogs], “We’re going out – relax, have a kip, chew a bone, we’ll be back soon”.
"They don’t understand that."
Speakintg on the issue Dr Nicole Rooney said that even if the dogs are content their stress levels Could be very high. ‘There are dogs who are quiet, but when you look at their physiological stress they are affected as well.
‘We don’t want owners to say, “My dogs is suffering but I’m working long hours and can’t do anything about it”, so that lots of dogs get dumped in re-homing centres.
‘There are strategies that can be used.’
In England, there are said to be almost 8 million pet dogs. Those owners who have to spend a long time from the dog are encourgaged to do this slowly to build up the amount of time spent away from them.