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... Pets suffering in break-ups Pets suffering in break-ups

20 October 2008

If you are going through a divorce or separation then spare a thought for your pet, as new research reveals that break-ups can seriously affect them.

A report out from the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) said that animals can become depressed and develop serious nervous system problems when their owners split.

Some pets have even been known to self-harm as the effect of the break-up proves too much for them to handle.

PDSA is now urging rowing couples to ensure their pet is well looked after as part of the separation agreement.

Sean Wensley, senior vet at PDSA, said problems included dogs having compulsive disorders including chasing their own tail or licking their limbs excessively, while cats can start 'wool sucking' and parrots can pull out their own feathers.

He added: "We see cats and dogs with compulsive disorders that have been caused or aggravated by the anxiety associated with owners breaking up.

"Cats and dogs, like young children, are sensitive to adult human emotions, and when these become tense or unpredictable this can cause stress-related health problems in our pets.

"A separation or divorce may not only cause logistical issues, such as a dog not being walked as often by one partner as it might have been by two people.

"Such a situation can result in them developing psychological and behavioural problems which can take a long time to resolve."