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As COVID-19 pandemic restrictions continue to ease across the country, pet owners are trying to transition to spending less time at home with their four-legged family members. Many are worried about how this change will impact their pets and are looking for support.

According to a recent report from Merck Animal Health, most pet owners have not proactively prepared their pets for this big switch. The “Bravo, Buddy” survey found that only 29% of pet parents left their animals alone for extended periods of time in preparation. Just 7% who will be returning to the office arranged for their pet to attend a daycare and only 6% of dog owners have hired a walker.

While the pandemic was challenging for everyone, pets were a bright spot for owners. The survey revealed that 83% of pet owners agree they have a stronger connection with their pets now. Among those who worked from home, 82% believe that spending the workday with their pets improved their mood.

That’s probably why many pet parents are concerned about “returning to normal.” The majority of respondents are afraid their pets will feel sad (67%), lonely (67%) and abandoned (64%) when they’re left at home. Many owners are also worried about their own well-being, with 63% saying they feel guilty about leaving their pet alone and 50% experiencing separation anxiety.

One way pet owners can ease their minds and smooth the transition for pets is by visiting their veterinarian. According to the survey, 24% of dog owners and 20% of cat owners said they spent less time than usual taking their pet to the vet during the past year.

See the full results of the survey and recommendations here.