This article has been saved to your library here.

You have reached the maximum of 5 saved articles. Want to review and email them?

Lifestage mascot

How old is your dog?

Pre-Puppy preview image


What’s better than puppies? That’s right: your own puppy. So, what do you need to know before you take the plunge into pet parenthood?

0-2 months
0-2 months preview image

0-2 months

Welcome to the world little one. It’s all grow-grow-grow for your puppy right now, so there’s many things to prepare.

2-3 months
2-3 months preview image

2-3 months

Your puppy is ready to come home and turn your world upside down. It’s time to put your preparation into practice – and remember to take it all in!

3-6 months
3-6 months preview image

3-6 months

You’re entering a period of immense growth, lots of learning and new adventures. Bring on the play date with the big wide world!

6-12 months
6-12 months preview image

6-12 months

Your fur-baby is nearing adulthood. Can you see their grown self coming through? Sigh…they grow up so fast, don’t they?

12-18 months
12-18 months preview image

12-18 months

Your puppy has turned one and they might not be so little anymore. Make sure to book their first annual check-up.

18 months - 3 years
18 months - 3 years preview image

18 months - 3 years

Your dog is one an established family member now. Enjoy who they have become and the bond you now share at this special stage.

3 - 8 years
3 - 8 years preview image

3 - 8 years

Your dog is a full-grown adult now. They understand where their place is in your home and the wider world.

8+ years
8+ years preview image

8+ years

Just like many senior citizens, senior dogs have some extra needs. Learn to look after your best friend and support their health as they grow older.

Pet Custody after a Breakup

The breakdown of a relationship is never easy, especially when there are children or pets involved. Just like us, our pets can find these situations difficult and stressful.

Custody agreements are typically put in place for the children but what about the custody of pets in separations?
How do breakups affect pets?

When a couple separate, there are a number of changes to the pet’s routine. These often include not seeing one or more of their family members as much, moving house and an increase in stress and tension in the home. These changes can trigger anxiety, especially separation anxiety, in pets.

Making the time to regularly spend some quality time with your pet (e.g. watching tv together, playing with your pet’s favourite toys, going for a walk, or doing a treat-training session) can help them cope with the transition. Implementing a consistent routine when it comes to a shared pet custody agreement and visitations can also help your pet adjust to these changes.

Who should be the primary carer?

The decision of who should be the primary carer in a pet joint custody agreement is not always an easy one, especially when both parties share a strong relationship with the pet, but it should always be made with the best interest of the pet in mind.

To minimise stress and anxiety, the pet’s routine should be kept as similar to the previous routine as possible.

If one of the owners works long hours and travel frequently, then it’s kinder on the pet to live with the owner who is home more often.

Another consideration when it comes to who should be the primary carer is the home environment. Ideally, the primary carer’s home is best suited to the pet in terms of size and layout. For example, a Border Collie would be better off with the owner who has a backyard rather than the partner who lives in an inner-city apartment. Whereas the elderly arthritic dog may be more comfortable in a single-level home rather than the multi-story home with lots of stairs.

Ultimately, the primary carer should be the person who is better placed to care for the physical, psychological and social needs of the pet.

Relationship breakdowns are part of life and, like us, it can take our pets some time to adjust to their new normal. Most pets are able to adapt well to changes in their routine following a separation given time and some extra love and care.


Save your favourite articles

Want to save this article and others for later? Easy!

  1. Click the toggle  at the top of each article you’d like to save.
  2. View your saved articles in My Library in top nav in the top right of the page.
  3. Open your saved articles and enter your details and we’ll send them to you.

Pet Paw-Trol

Promotion preview

Free Puppy Training Guide

Your puppy training guidebook.

Get yours now.

Promotion preview

Pet of the Month

Will your pet win a VitaPet Gift Pack?

Enter your Pet Now