Back to the office: Insurers covering cost of therapy for lonely dogs

Market analysts Defaqto said 44% of dog insurance policies now included full cover for behaviour compared to 30% in February last year.

This means insurers would cover the cost of behavioural therapy recommended by a vet to treat an animal’s emotional distress, perhaps owing to separation.

Pet ownership rose during the pandemic.

Of an estimated 12 million dogs in the UK, about 3.2 million were acquired as puppies during the Covid crisis.

Many were bought by young people to help with companionship and exercise while working from home during lockdowns.

Dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, has warned that an increasing number of owners are trying to hand over dogs for adoption since coronavirus restrictions were lifted.

The RSPCA has also said that dogs could face separation anxiety that made them distressed.

Indicators include destructive behaviour, unwanted toileting or reports of howling and barking. In some cases anxious dogs may tremble, whine or pace around, as well as excessive salivation, self-mutilation, repetitive behaviour and vomiting.

Some pets might require professional help that can cost thousands of pounds.

Brian Brown, consumer finance expert at Defaqto, said insurers had increased their cover.

“However, there is no excuse for not training and socialising a dog properly and insurers will not pay claims where this is the case,” he said.

“If your dog is showing signs of distress, seek advice straight away. Many insurers offer free vet helplines where you can get advice over the phone, even if you don’t have to make a claim. If you find you don’t have insurance cover, speak to the animal charities to get advice.”