Preventing Separation Anxiety in Pets After the Stay-at-Home Order Ends
After months of constant togetherness during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the post-lockdown life can feel like another big change. We have to adjust to setting our alarms and dealing with the daily commute once more. Kids will soon be out and about during summer activities and the busy life as we used to know it will return. During COVID-19, your furry one may have reaped the rewards of you being by their side during the day. But, what now?
If your pet has been struggling with the transition, your friends at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center are empathetic with this scenario. We are here with some suggestions to help your loved one deal with separation anxiety and its associated problems.
Helping Your Pet Cope with Transition
You may think that this back to work/school/daily life thing should be no big deal for your pet, but you may be surprised.
Pets quickly adapt to a routine and the number of weeks in lockdown have definitely set a new schedule for them. Many pets will have a hard time with the loss of their best buddy being around. Even dogs and cats who don’t mind some solo time, will still have some effects from the new way of life.
To help avoid anxiety and other problems that can ensue after an abrupt change, here are some recommendations:
- Make the transition gradual. If you know you will be returning to work or another obligation, get your pet used to being alone by going out for a few hours each day. Gradually increase the time spent away from your fur friend, such as going on a road trip, then returning at the end of the afternoon. Incrementally, they will get used to time on their lonesome again.
- Spend time at home with your pet in another room. While you’re doing things around the home, let your pet spend time alone in another room or in their crate. Give them lots of toys and a few treats. Make their solo time interesting and fun, so it isn’t as stressful for them.
- Take your dog to daycare or have a pet sitter swing by. Using a pet sitter or doggie daycare can help get your pet used to being out with others, playing and exercising, without your presence. This is an exciting way for them to adjust to some time without you, but still have people to interact with.
- Keep your new routine consistent. Once you establish when your pet eats, exercises, goes outside, etc., stick with the routine. Even during weekends when you are home, make sure to maintain your pet’s weekly schedule.
- Minimize your enthusiasm upon returning home. When you pay attention to your pet’s yips, jumps, and barks when you return, you may be reenforcing the anxiety. Try to remain calm and go about your business. Give your pet a quick pat and carry on, as if your being gone is no big deal. (You can always snuggle with your pet later.)
- Create fun outings on weekends and evenings. Get your pet used to the idea that there are certain times devoted to them. Play a special new game in the yard after dinner, or plan trips to new parks or neighborhoods to explore on weekends. This will give your pet the needed attention and excitement they enjoy, but within the framework of the new schedule.
More Help for Pets with Separation Anxiety
If your pet is still struggling or displaying abnormal behaviors after you return to work, we can assist. There are some training techniques and camping supplements, as well as medications we can use to ease your fur friend’s anxiety and stress. Please do not hesitate to call us and schedule an appointment.