Pets, owners worried about returning to work in person

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“Adopting a dog is an exciting time and I don’t think most people think about the potential liability their new family member represents or fully understand how their current insurance may or may not protect them,” says Emily Kessler, of Canope. (Credit: Igor Normann / Shutterstock.com)

While workers who have spent the last year or more at home with their pets are starting to return to their workplace in person, 74% consider the animal care costs that could result from this change.

This is revealed by MetLife Pet Insurance’s Pet Parent Pulse survey, which found that almost all pet owners surveyed (95%) predict that returning to the office will result in a change in their pet’s routine or aura. an impact on the overall health of the animal.

In addition to disrupting the pet’s routine, pet owners are also concerned about making the pet anxious or stressed, while 24% are concerned that the pet will act when it is. left alone.

To avoid any problems, 36% of pet owners plan to invest in assistance such as pet sitting, while 29% plan to adjust their working hours. Almost a quarter said they would take a pay cut to continue working remotely and 20% are considering taking the animal to a shelter or finding a new home.

‘Where would you go?’

For the 2 million dogs and cats adopted over the past year, this may be the first time they have been left alone for long periods in their new home. Even pets that might have been alone before might start to experience separation anxiety as a result of the change.

“As people’s habits change and they start spending more time away from home, some dogs may experience separation anxiety,” says Emily Kessler, chief actuary of Canopius’ Chicago offices. “This may be especially true for dogs adopted during the pandemic that have not experienced any other routines or dogs with a history of separation anxiety, which may be the case for many rescues. High levels of anxiety can lead to aggressive behavior, so it’s important for dog owners to be able to recognize the signs of separation anxiety and learn how to help their dogs move into a new routine.

Unfortunately, when pets feel anxious, stressed, or bored, they can translate those emotions into destructive behaviors. Kessler, who also helps manage Amelia Underwriters’ dog liability portfolio, notes that many owner and tenant policies limit or exclude damage caused by dogs, which policyholders might not realize.

While Canopius has seen an increase in interest in its dog policies over the past year, which includes personal injury and property coverage, she says it is unclear whether this is due to the pandemic.

“Adopting a dog is an exciting time and I don’t think most people think about the potential liability their new family member poses or have a good understanding of how their current insurance may or may not protect them,” Kessler told PropertyCasualty360.com. “As blockages loosen and people aren’t able to spend as much time with their dogs, it’s more important than ever for owners to make sure they have proper coverage. “

Chill dog (or cat)

At the Behavior Clinic, an animal health and behavior center in northeast Ohio, there has been a resurgence of issues with older patients, but not many new cases, according to Amanda Eick, practice director certified, trainer and licensed veterinary technician. Part of that could be attributed to the clinic’s outreach over the past year.

“When we spoke with our clients throughout COVID, and we try to be very proactive, we emphasized that they need to continue therapy and practice departures,” she says, adding that playgroups for puppies not only help animals socialize, they can be used as a practice to be away from family members.

With many people deploying video cameras in their homes, whether for security purposes or specifically to keep an eye on their pets, behavioral monitoring for disturbing signs – such as excessive panting, drooling, urinating – has become easier and more common. Eick notes that pet owners should seek help at the first sign of a problem.

For pet owners who have issues with anxious dogs and cats, Eick says enrichment toys that offer food rewards are great tools.

“It’s about making sure that every time they leave, they have a job to do. Instead of putting their food in a bowl, put it in a puzzle and keep them trying to get the food out, ”she says.

For dogs, Eick recommends using “lickable” foods, such as canned dog food. For cats, bringing freshly fallen leaves may be enough. She also suggests rubbing spices inside a paper bag, which will catch a cat’s curiosity and give it something to do.

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