One in four home alone dogs 'depressed'

As many as one in four of Britain's pet dogs could be suffering from depression and stress after being left home alone for long hours.

Home alone dogs left depressed

Pic: Getty

A new Channel 4 documentary, Home Alone Dogs, has revealed what our pet pooches get up to when the owners leave the front door, and some of the results were not pretty.

According to the Daily Mail, a spokesman for the show, which is due to be aired later this year, said: "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."

Evidence suggests that many animals, even those that appear calm, could be experiencing high levels of stress when left alone, and the problem is often worse where their owners work unusually long hours or have just returned to work.

But while separation anxiety is a problem for the nation's faithful hounds, there are ways and means by which owners can help their dog to cope with the stress, including gradually building up the length of time spent away from their pets, and allowing the dog to get used to the usual going out triggers, like putting a coat on or picking up your keys, without leaving the house.

Dr Nicola Rooney, from the veterinary school at the University of Bristol, said: "We don't want owners to say, 'My dog 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."

So if you are worried about your home alone dog, consider getting some professional help from a behaviourist or trainer.

Has your dog struggled with separation anxiety? How did you overcome the problem? Leave your comments below...