While it has been wonderful for some us to be working and staying at home with our pets all day these past few months, some of you may be getting ready to go back to work in the near future. While this change of routine may be easy for us to accommodate to, it may not be so easy on your pets when they find you are no longer at home 24/7. Here are a few simple tips to help ease them into the change.
1. Giving them quiet time
Take them to a separate room to let them rest by themselves while you are home. With highly anxious dogs that focus on your talking or the sound of doors opening and closing, it might be a good idea to leave them with background music (without singing) or white nose to drown out your noise so they never know whether or not you are actually home.
2. Leave the house a couple times a day
You can start with leaving in short increments and progress to longer time frames. Just so they start getting used to you leaving.
3. Don’t panic or celebrate
When you get ready to leave and notice your pet might begin to panic, try to ignore it so they get used to you leaving without emotion. Same for your return, do not celebrate with your pet immediately upon your arrival home. You want them to realize leaving and returning is a normal event, not something special.
4. Keep them entertained and tire them out
It can beneficial to tire them out before leaving them alone. Take them on a morning walk or exercise and they are more likely to fall asleep before you leave. Then give them interactive toys like Kongs or long lasting chews, that will keep them busy for a while after awaking. Hiding them around the house will also keep them occupied while providing enrichment. Be sure to use toys they can’t destroy and ingest while you are gone.
5. Do what is most comfortable for your pet
While some dogs find kennels as safe spaces, others become highly anxious in crates and may injure themselves. Leaving music or TV on might not bother some pets, while for others it is extremely distracting and causes more stress. You can also experiment with dog appeasing pheromone collars or sprays that aid in relaxation and de-stressing. While these work for some pets, again they may not work for others.
While these tips and tricks may help your pet get back on track to you leaving the home, just like the days before quarantine, other dogs may develop a more serious separation anxiety disorder. Check out this article by the ASPCA to read more, or contact your veterinarian for recommendations on how to treat your pets condition.