Easing Pets Back to Normalcy
As states across the country begin to lift stay-at-home restrictions and reopen businesses, people will likely be spending more time outside of their homes and some may be even returning to their places of work. However, this could leave pet owners and their animal companions in a tough bind after having grown used to being together all the time.
In order to prepare for this challenge, pet owners should take measures to help prepare their animals for being apart. Animals thrive on routine, and it’s understandable if schedules have gone a bit wonky amid the pandemic and involve going to bed later and sleeping in longer. However, in the time leading up to a planned return to work, pet owners should do their best to get back into the feeding and walking routine they had prior to the outbreak. This will make the transition easier for both pets and humans as they deal with the added stress of readjusting to their return to the workplace.
In addition to establishing routine, pet parents can also prepare for longer periods of separation by beginning to practice it in small doses. While a dog might be a usual companion on a daily walk, pet parents should begin to take short trips outside by themselves to get their animal friends used to being alone. This measure will also be easier to implement once more stores are open to run errands at.
Once a pet parent returns to work, they should also know how to recognize signs that an animal is suffering from separation anxiety. Destruction of furniture, pillows or other items while a human is away is often a major indication as well as accidents in the home or outside the litterbox. Dogs may also exhibit excessive drooling, barking, panting or pacing. Using a pet or nanny camera can help owners monitor their pets during the day as well to see if pets are demonstrating these behaviors.
In order to help handle separation anxiety, pet parents can provide time-consuming and stimulating toys such as treat puzzles or chews to keep animals occupied or using calming supplements to help them stay relaxed. However, it’s likely that passing time will be the most effective method for returning to routine. For both pets and humans, the transition back into greater normalcy might be a rocky one at first, but with love, patience and commitment, they can hopefully find their footing.