How to prepare you pets for when you go back to work.
Although it may feel that we have been social distancing for 100 years and you might be excited to get out of the house and back to normal, your furry friends likely believe this is normal.
Whether you have had your pets for years or they are new companions, this new normal of you being home at all times, is likely what they expect to continue. After this much time cuddling with you on the couch, you pet could develop separation anxiety when you return to work.
Separation anxiety is possible even if you have never had this issue with your pet before. Symptoms of separation anxiety include; urinating and defecating in the house, barking, and chewing. In cats you may also see excessive grooming leading to bald spots.
No one knows what makes some pets more prone to developing separation anxiety than others. Some Veterinarians think that is it most often found in animals that are rarely left alone because these animals either do not develop or lose over time the skills and confidence to remains home without support. It is for this reason that Vet’s feel there may be an increase is separation anxiety after this time of social isolation.
So what can you do to help ensure your pet does not suffer from separation anxiety when you go back to the office?
1) Prep your pet
If you and your four legged friend have been inseparable until now, it’s time to get some space! Take a few breaks throughout the day. Go for a walk, a bike ride, make TikTok videos in your yard away from your pet. These short period of separation are like training wheels for your pet. If at any point you return home to find evidence of stress or anxiety, shorten your time away and start the process again.
2) Provide Diversions
There is no need to expect your pet to be bored while you are out. Provide Fluffy with a puzzle toy of sorts to keep their mind busy. Automated toys can provide tons of fun for cats. Many people like to leave their TV or radio on as companionship for their pets while they are away. I suggest leaving on an audio book for your dog to enjoy. They often keep a steady tone and you don’t have to worry about the TV changing to a show with scary sounds like sirens or yelling voices.
3) Remain Calm
Sometimes we unwittingly worsen our pet’s anxiety if we are nervous about leaving them. If you say goodbye to them three or four times and reassure them you will be back soon, they will pick up on your anxiety and cause them to be fearful. Say a casual and brief goodbye and leave. Similarly when you return home, try and make it uneventful. The goal is to make is “no big deal” that you were gone.
Overall we know you are going to miss your pet just as much as they miss you. So try not to only think of these tips as ways to help your pet’s anxiety but to help your own.
Stay safe and stay healthy.