How is COVID-19 affecting your dog?
Due to the Shelter-in-Place orders issued around the country, many people began spending much more time at home. Working from home, having food and groceries delivered… leaving our pets alone at home became almost a thing of the past. However, due to the transition back to regular life many pets are now dealing with onset separation anxiety.
When it comes to pets that suffer from separation anxiety, they often will experience extreme emotional distress when they are separate from their place of comfort, or a person of comfort. Often these pets will become destructive, loud, hyperactive, and will suffer from inappropriate elimination.
Tips for returning to work:
- If you believe your pet might be showing signs of separation anxiety, or you believe them to be anxious we recommend contacting your veterinarian.
- Your veterinarian is equipped and qualified to treat and diagnose your pet, their treatment could include a range of options from medications to social management such as doggy daycare and in-house pet sitters.
- This is not a situation in which we recommend waiting, the earlier you start looking into help the better the outcomes and quality of life for your pet.
- Make your greetings and goodbyes less exciting.
- Try to have all your belongings ready before you leave so there is no frantic searching, yelling, and running about as you are walking out the door.
- We recommend avoiding loud and emotional goodbyes or reunions with your pet.
- Pair rewards with your goodbyes.
- Puzzle toys and other long-lasting food treats can create a positive association for your pet when you leave.
- Refrain from punishing your pet for their destructive and out of line behaviors in your absence.
- During the Shelter-in-Place orders, many pets were enjoying daily walks which allowed them enrichment and exercise, maintaining this activity once you return to work can help with the transition as well.
Tips for those who are still Sheltering-In-Place:
- You can practice taking moments of independence from your pets to keep their confidence and comfort when you are gone.
- You can close the door to the room that you are working in.
- Go for a short drive or walk without your pet.
- Always keep your hellos and goodbyes very calm, and low-key.
- If your pet has a certain room or crate in your house that you use when you leave having them spend some time in that general area daily with your home can help them view this space as their own, and not a place of solitude.
- Possibly even pairing this time with a treat, or one of their favorite toys can help.
- Pets can be persuaded by our emotional state, practicing habits that remove stress and anxiety from your own life can definitely help during these hard times.