As many Australians prepare to return to the office after many months of working from home, PetSafe Australia urges pet owners to follow some simple tips to prepare their four-legged family members as well.
In the past year, pets have become dependent on their owners being at home around the clock. But when some of us return to life after a pandemic, our pets are at risk of separation anxiety – a potentially debilitating and destructive mental illness that is believed to affect one in four to six dogs.
PetSafe Australia reached out to Australian veterinarian and TV host Dr. Katrina Warren teamed up to come up with six simple tips to help you and your furry loved ones transition back to our daily routine.
“Any animal that has a close bond with a human can become frightened if it is suddenly separated,” says Dr. Katrina. “However, dogs are very closely related to humans and seem to suffer the most.”
The incidence of separation anxiety in dogs is expected to increase when we return to the office. But how can you tell if your dog is having a hard time? “There are some signs that can quickly tell us that a dog is anxious,” says Dr. Katrina.
“When COVID-19 is a thing of the past and we all return to our normal routines, you can see changes in your pet’s behavior,” says Dr. Katrina. “With growing dogs it can be sheer boredom – with others it can be that they have separation anxiety.”
“Separation anxiety dogs become extremely stressed when separated from their guardian. This can manifest itself in a variety of behavioral problems, such as barking and howling, changing toilet habits, and destructive behavior such as chewing and digging. “
All of these can get expensive for you – not to mention taxing your neighbors – and remove the added stress for pets and their human parents.
“More serious signs of separation anxiety can include loss of appetite, hiding in corners, wheezing or whining, or trembling,” advises Dr. Katrina, “and may require your veterinarian’s assistance to deal with it.”
Dr. Katrina and PetSafe recommend the following six tips that can help your dog avoid separation anxiety and reduce the daily stress of returning to work.
- Do some exercise!
Make sure your dog is having a decent walk or is moving vigorously In front You go for the day. A tired dog has less energy to be fearful and destructive.
2. Leave a challenging tidbit behind
Give your dog a chew as soon as you leave, which will distract him from your departure. Treat-giving toys like that PetSafe Busy Buddy are the perfect solution as they can keep dogs busy for hours getting the treats.
3. Remain calm on your departure and return
Don’t make a fuss about leaving or coming home. Stay calm and emotionless. If your dog gets excited and jumps over you when you get home, ignore him and calmly walk away. Don’t say hello to them until they have calmed down.
4. Establish and practice a realistic routine
In the days and weeks before you go back to work, get your dog used to a routine that is manageable when you return to work from home. For example, if you take shorter walks and at times other than what you are currently doing, start getting them used to the changes as soon as possible.
5. Create a special “dog cave”
This is a safe place that your dog can always go and know that he will not be bothered. It could be a kennel, enclosure, box, or your bed area – whatever you use it is a place you can retreat to anytime to relax and feel safe. From the time you bring puppies home, get them used to these areas by encouraging them to have their chew toys there and sleep there.
6. Find a pet sitter
Leaving your dog with a friend, relative, or dog sitter is a great option; or if your dog gets along well with other puppies, try dog day care. This doesn’t have to be a long-term solution – start with five days a week, then gradually let it off day in and day out so you can slowly get used to the days of being at home alone.
If you are concerned about your pet’s anxiety, speak to your veterinarian. You may need help from an animal behavior therapist, and in some severe cases, an anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed that you can reduce or stop in a timely manner.
Whatever steps you take to help your furry friend transition back to solo time when you get back to work, don’t hesitate! There is no time like the present. A gradual transition is much better than a suddenly empty and very lonely family home. As soon as possible, start extending your home stays and getting your pet used to their own company again.