New study shows increased levels of anxiety in pets since COVID-19 pandemic

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Green Element has published research showcasing the increase in pet anxiety since the start of the pandemic in 2020

Green Element, a CBD supply company, has released original new research detailing increased levels of pet anxiety in the United States. The CBD company said in an organizational statement1 that data showed a particular increase in dog anxiety over the past 2 years based on research comparing 2020 to 2022 in Finland. The company conducted the survey in May 2022, and a total of 1,000 US adults ages 18 and older were surveyed (650 dog owners and 350 cat owners).2

Some of the highlights of the study concluded that1:

  • Dog separation anxiety has jumped over 700% in just two years.
  • Fear of strangers has increased, overtaking fear of loud noises to become the leading cause of anxiety in dogs after a 295% increase since 2020.
  • Anxiety caused by other cats or dogs has increased significantly in dogs, from just 16.5% in 2020 to 43.52% in 2022.

The multitude of changes that have taken place over the past two years could be a difficult adjustment for most people, and it’s no different for pets. From transitioning into COVID-19 schedules (pet owners and children home more frequently) to transitioning out of these schedules, pets have had to readapt multiple times.2

“We all know that the COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on our daily lives, but it’s now clear that our pets have also suffered over the same period,” said Doug McHart, CEO of Green Element. in the press release. .1

Compared to a study published in 2020 on canine anxiety in Finland,3 the Green Element survey conducted in 2022 reveals that anxiety in dogs has increased from 40% to over 700% in the last two years alone. The different causes of anxiety in dogs increased in each area. However, the categories that saw the greatest increase were ‘fear of strangers’ and ‘separation-related behaviors’.2

Most signs of anxiety in dogs vary not only in their presentation, but also in their frequency and observability. For example, excessive barking and hyperactivity may go unnoticed when owners are not present, but inappropriate urination or defecation and destructive behavior may be tracked after the fact. Stereotypical behaviors – defined in this survey as “tail chasing, pacing, licking, chasing or slapping highlights or shadows”2– are also difficult to detect without direct observation.

Guide Dogs research found that 36% of dog owners can spot the signs of poor mental health and 24% admitted they were unaware a dog could be suffering from poor mental health.4

In the Green Element survey, nearly half of all dog owners reported barking and hyperactivity that recurred weekly, every other day, or more frequently. Symptoms of anxiety in cats are often more subtle, but owners have reported signs of tail flapping, avoidance of eye contact, and head/body moving on multiple occasions (every week or two). days) or more often than usual.2

Green Element said: “Further research is needed to understand the specific reasons for this increase. A comparison of time spent at home pre-covid, during COVID and post-COVID is still needed to understand potential links.2

References

  1. Pet anxiety dramatically increases during COVID, according to research by Green Element. Press release. Green element. May 31, 2022.
  2. Study: prevalence of pet anxiety in the United States, 2022. Green element. Accessed May 31, 2022. https://greenelementcbd.com/pages/pet-anxiety-2022.
  3. Prevalence, comorbidity and breed differences in canine anxiety in 13,700 Finnish companion dogs. Scientific reports. March 5, 2020. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-59837-z.
  4. Guide Dogs encourages enrichment to improve the mental health of dogs. The Association of Guide Dogs for the Blind. March 8, 2022. https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/blog/guide-dogs-encourages-enrichment-to-boost-dog-mental-health.

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