In the UK 3.2 million households acquired a new pet from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association. It is not surprising that one of the main beneficiaries of lockdown were pets, particularly dogs, that got to spend much more time with their owners.
Since lockdown has eased, all pets, especially dogs, are now having to get used to being at home on their own again for longer periods of time as owners slowly return to workplaces. Dogs are pack animals, so they thrive in the company of their owners. Many dogs were spoiled last year with their owners’ time and affection during coronavirus lockdowns. Although dogs can be trained to be alone for long periods when their owners are at work, the sudden separation can be problematic. Unintentionally, owners may be causing their pets additional stress, simply by having been around during lockdown.
Many of these pets, many of which were acquired during lockdowns last year, are now suffering from separation anxiety. The pets do not know any different and are now facing what to them may seem like a strange new world.
Some pet insurers are now offering treatment for distressed dogs as part of their policies. Research shows that 44 per cent of dog insurance policies now include full cover for behavioural issues, up from 30 per cent early last year. This trend shows how pet insurance is evolving over time to increasingly recognise the emotional and psychological needs of dogs and keep pace with developing pet treatments available. All dog owners may now want to check if this cover is part of their pet insurance policy and if it is not, think about finding a policy that does offer this cover.
Is this part of insurance cover something that all pet insurance policies will cater for in future? It is food for thought for those already in, and planning to move into the pet insurance market as owners tend to see their pets as part of their family, so they naturally want the best for not only their physical but also their mental health. While some people will argue that pet psychology is nothing more than nonsense, there is an argument that, by keeping animals in better mental wellbeing, their physical health is also likely to benefit positively.