KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 ― Insurers in the United Kingdom are increasingly covering claims for treatment of distressed dogs as their owners return to work following the lifting of lockdowns from Covid-19.

Quoting market analysts Defaqto, BBC reported that 44 per cent of dog insurance policies now included full cover for behaviour compared to 30 per cent in February last year.

This means insurers would cover the cost of behavioural therapy recommended by a veterinarian to treat an animal's emotional distress brought about by separation.

The UK had seen pet ownership rise during the pandemic.

Of the estimated 12 million dogs in the UK now, about 3.2 million were acquired as puppies during the pandemic.

Many were bought for companionship and exercise while working from home during lockdowns.

Dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, had warned that there was an increased number of owners who were trying to hand over their dogs for adoption following the lifting of restrictions.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also said that dogs could face separation anxiety that made them distressed.

Signs to look out for 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 of these pets might require professional help that can cost thousands of pounds.

Defaqto's consumer finance expert Brian Brown 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 told the portal.

“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,” he added.