Separation Anxiety Goes Both Ways

64% of pet owners feel they will develop separation anxiety from their pets once they return to work on a normal schedule.

Humans are not the only ones to be affected by covid-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders. With many of us spending more time at home, pets have also settled into a new routine of having their family members with them the whole day.

When life goes back to normal, the lives of these pets are expected to be turned upside down again. Pets will return to pre-pandemic routines when they spent more time alone than with others. Many anticipate that this could lead to the development of behavioral problems.

We at gathered thoughts on this topic by conducting an online survey among 600 single-living pet owners currently working from home. Here are our findings:

Building Stronger Relationships

It comes as no surprise that the majority of pet owners felt they have developed a better relationship with their pets as a result of spending more time together during lockdown.

Better Relationships with Pets

84% of dog owners felt that they have developed a better relationship with their companion animal. Cat owners were less certain with 21% of them saying there has been no change in relationship with their feline friend.

Pets Developing Separation Anxiety

Pet owners, however, felt that the opportunity the lockdown has given them to spend more time with pets did come at a certain cost. Many expect their pets to develop separation anxiety once they return to the workplace on a normal schedule.

Pets Separation Anxiety Chart

65% of dog owners felt their pets would develop separation anxiety, while the remaining 35% were either unsure or felt there wouldn't be any issues. Interestingly, cat owners were more positive than their dog owner counterparts with 52% of them saying their feline friend would develop separation anxiety.

The general consensus among cat owners who felt their pets would be fine was that cats are independent animals so it would make little difference to them whether their family members are at home for a few hours or for the whole day.

Separation Anxiety Goes Both Ways

What hasn't really been discussed yet is the effects on the pet owner. As a result of building a stronger bond, we found that many pet owners would be more anxious-than-usual about their pet's livelihood once they return to work.

Owner Separation Anxiety Chart

There was no difference here with 64% of cat and dog owners believing that they will be more anxious about their pets once work from home policy ends. Some of those who believe they will become anxious mentioned that they will miss the extra lap time with pets in the middle of the day. Others mentioned that they would become worried about their pets developing unwanted habits such as pooping in random places.

On the flip side, some of the pet owners who weren't worried about developing anxiety mentioned that their pets would enjoy having time to themselves, while others mentioned they wouldn't feel anxious as they look forward to returning to a normal routine.


The above online survey was conducted in November 2020 by, a website where financially-struggling pet owners can find resources in their local area, including low-cost veterinary care and free pet food supplies.