Preparing your pet for your return to the office

Preparing your pet for your return to the office

Pet owners spent a lot of time with their pets during the last few months. However, with the lockdown mesures easing, it may force them to see their pets less often.

August 28, 2020

Having to stay home most of the time for the last months due to the COVID-19 pandemic has given us pet owners more time to spend with our furry friends. However, with lockdown measures easing across Canada, many pet owners are worried about leaving their animals alone for extended periods. 

Whether it be an adult pet who has gotten accustomed to having their owners at home, or even a puppy, foster or new pet adopted during quarantine, this predicament is affecting many people who have been working remotely and are now looking for solutions. 

While most cats will be fine with their owner leaving the house more often, since they typically enjoy spending time alone, this will be especially difficult for dogs. It will be particularly true for dogs who have experienced separation anxiety in the past and have recently not had much practice being alone. 

There are a few things you can do to help reduce stress on your pets when returning to work. It is important to keep an eye out for signs of stress and separation anxiety when leaving your pets. Here are a few tips to make the transition away from working at home easier for you, your family and your pets. 

  • Introduce consistency in your daily routine: if your pet was used to 3 walks per day before you started working from home, make sure to keep to that number, not the 10 walks per day they may have gotten used to during COVID-19. 
  • Change mealtime to when it would usually be served: meals are one of the most exciting moments of the day for your dog. Make sure the time of meals matches with your new schedule by incrementally changing the time at which meals are served.
  • Exercise before leaving: Make some time for play and exercise just before leaving; this can help keep your pet calm and relaxed while you are gone. 
  • Keep your pets busy while you’re gone: food puzzles, toys stuffed with treats, and other electronic toys like the Furbo Treat-tossing Pet Camera are all great alternatives for keeping your pet entertained when they are alone 
  • Remove the anxiety around your departure: short “mock departures” like going for a walk on your own and slowly extending the time spent away from your pet can help them get used to your absence. Giving a small treat just as you walk out the door can also help your pet associate the reward with your departure. Take note of signs of anxiety such as bad behaviour. Do not punish your pet if they behave badly, just reduce the time spent away and slowly increase it to longer periods. 

Lifestyle changes like this have a big impact on all members of the family, including pets. The easiest way to help your animals adjust to the situation is to keep their routine consistent. If you have concerns about behaviour, stress and your pet’s wellbeing, discuss them with your veterinarian and find out if your pet might benefit from a consultation with a behaviour specialist. 

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