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Prevention of Pet Anxiety after Quarantine

Pets During the Pandemic

Dog while his owners work from home during COVID-19 pandemic
Kai while his owners work from home

COVID-19 has presented many challenges for many families. Fortunately, our dogs only benefitted. They have become accustomed to our constant presence in the home, excessive walks, and over-abundance of attention. As we begin to transition into our phased reopening, more people will be returning to the office. Over the last few months, dogs have been your new coworkers, but now you may have to leave them home alone for extended periods of time. Many people have even adopted dogs during this time for companionship, so these pets may be unfamiliar staying home alone. So, how can you help your pet transition to long periods of time at home alone again?

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety stems from fear and uncertainty of being alone. This fear is often triggered by keys jingling, you putting on your shoes, or shutting of doors. Pets suffering from separation anxiety may express themselves in a destructive manner, damaging your property or potentially causing themselves harm. Pets are very receptive to human emotions. If you are nervous about leaving your pet home alone, they will easily mirror this anxiety.

Preparing Your Pet for Periods of Separation

A dog overcoming pet anxiety during the pandemic
Toby in his safe place

As you begin leaving your pet at home more often, there are a few steps that you can take to set them up for success.

  • When you are home with your pet, allow time for them to be alone in their “safe place”
  • Encourage pet independence using puzzle toys and sniff mats
  • Set up white noise: A fan, tv, or radio, can soothe an anxious pet
  • Institute the use of calming pheromones with sprays or plugins
  • Desensitize your pet to departure cues: put on your shoes to walk to the other side of the house, jingle your keys before making lunch
  • Establish a routine of exercise and play times that are consistent whether you are working from home or away
  • Slowly increase the time you are away from your house for several days before leaving for an entire work day.

Questions About Pet Anxiety?

This process of reintroducing your pet to time away requires patience and persistence, but they are worth it! If you are struggling with the transition, Care First Animal Hospital has a team of passionate animal care technicians and trainers who can provide school and camp for your pets. Our veterinarians are here to assist you in determining when your pet’s anxiety needs medical intervention in addition to environmental modification. Contact us today if you have any questions!

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