Since COVID quarantine started back in March, many pet owners have had extra time to be more present in their fur baby’s life. For many of those who became first time pet owners during quarantine, their pets know no existence than having their owner present at all times. As things return to normalcy with people going back to the more traditional work and school environments, our pets may start to experience a degree of separation anxiety. Some pets may have mild to moderate signs such as panting, pacing, barking, howling excessively, and/or grooming excessively.
Then we have the other ones that exhibit very clear signs such as being destructive to their environment or hurting themselves in an effort to flee. Some recommendations that can help ease this transition include starting to increase the amount of time spent away from your pet and out of the house as a “trial run”, and restarting your usual morning routine performed before leaving the house. This would be a great experiment for owners who took on a puppy or kitten during the pandemic, as these pets would be more likely to have separation anxiety due to constantly being home with you.
Additionally, acclimating dogs to the walking times of your future schedule can help prevent having accidents in your home while you are away.
Some behaviorist veterinarians recommend setting up a monitoring device, if able, to accurately gauge your pet’s level of stress while you are gone from the house and/or during storms. Many
people find leaving the television on or soothing music playing for their pets is helpful. Also, enrichment activities to keep them busy while you are not home include treat puzzles, hidden
treats that your pet has to work to find, or frozen treats to keep them busy. Frozen peanut butter in Kongs, anyone? In more extreme separation anxiety situations, consulting with your
veterinarian would be recommended as medical intervention might be the route your pet may need to help them ease their anxiety.
If you are unsure about the signs your dog is exhibiting consult your friendly Village Veterinarian. Early detection can help reduce or stop the development of anxiety separation in pets before they become destructive or hurt themselves.
Don’t let your feelings be hurt if it doesn’t seem like your pet misses you…be grateful! They’ll still meet you at the door when you get home!