With many of us alternating between working from home and the office, many dogs can become anxious when separated from family - particularly if it's the first time that they've had to spend all day without them.
Here's how to recognise and manage your dog's anxiety when you're not home - and as always, if you have any questions, get in touch with your vet.
Anxiety is characterised by signs of distress when affected animals are separated from an owner or family group (or another animal), to whom they're attached.
Behavioural responses can include unexpected toileting in the house, destructiveness, excessive barking, digging or pacing and attempting to escape, as well as other distress signs.
The goal of managing and treating anxiety is teaching the dog to be calm and relaxed when you're not there by changing your leaving and returning routine, teaching your dog to be content when left alone, and other environmental changes and management.
Pet owners should discuss concerns with their vet, who may help directly or refer them to a behavioural specialist who uses humane, reward-based training.
One of the best ways to help your dog be less anxious when you leave the house is make leaving not so much of a big deal.
Try ignoring your dog 15 to 30 minutes prior to leaving, and when you return, greet the dog softly, calmly and quietly, and only attend to them when they're calm and quiet.
Pick up your keys (or do other things you might do, like putting on your shoes), but rather than leaving the house, ignore the dog and go about your routine.
Your dog will learn that this does not always equal you leaving - and hopefully no longer leads to an anxious response.
You can also use what is called counterconditioning, or teaching your pet to have a pleasant reaction to something they previously feared or disliked.
For example, each time you leave, offer your dog a Kong type of toy, stuffed with delicious, healthy food, that will take them 20 or 30 minutes to consume.
One of the best ways you can help an anxious dog is to give them things to do.
Give your dog lots of exercise before you go, taking different routes to give them new sights and smells.
It's also important to provide food (perhaps hidden, or in a Kong-like toy that will take them a while to eat), safe chew items to preoccupy them, and before you leave, play fun, interactive games like tug-of-war.
Of course, providing human or canine company for your dog is an effective way to manage doggy anxiety, so see if friends or family can help, if there is a reputable doggy day care in your area, or if you or someone you trust could walk them during the day.
For more on managing anxiety in dogs, visit the RSPCA Knowledgebase.