Dog looking out window

Going back to work? Here’s some help in getting your pet back into routine!

Different countries are at different stages of their coronavirus lockdowns, some countries are starting to ease the measures taken to slow the spread fo the virus.
In the UK parts of the country have decided to remain in full lockdown while other parts are opening up again albeit slowly. Many people have started going back to work.
We know a lot of our pets will suffer as we go back to work as they’ve gotten used to us being with them a lot more. We’ve put together some top tips for pet parents in how to help your pets through this.

 

Signs of separation anxiety

To start there are certain signs we should look out for in our pets which may signal they are suffering from separation anxiety. Some signals are:

  • Following you about constantly from room to room
  • Sleeping with ‘one eye open’ in case your about to leave
  • Excessive barking
  • Pacing around the room when you leave

This isn’t a complete list, your pet may show their separation anxiety in a different way, keep an eye out for any behaviours out of the ordinary.
To help prepare your pet for being separated a bit more as life starts to go back to normal we have put together these 5 top tips.

1. Start leaving your pup alone

I don’t know about you, but my dogs are with me all the time at the minute. One thing that’s going to help them is by leaving them alone again for short periods of times. (Of course make sure it’s somewhere they’re safe.) Leaving them alone for a couple of minutes at a time is a good start. Depending on your circumstances you could nip out to the garden, or have a read in your bedroom. It’s good to to this several times a day increasing the time every day. You can help your pets with the adjustment by giving them something to do such as a pet puzzle.

2. Enrichment toys and puzzles

Leading on from our last point, enrichment toys and puzzles are a great way to help get your dog ready for life without you. They keep their mind active and off the fact you’re not there or just not giving them attention. We wrote an article on some of these toys and puzzles which you can read HERE.

3. Routine

Our pets should get plenty of sleep during the day, keeping them in their regular routine will help when you go back to work or the office. Getting up at the same time and sticking with the same walking, eating and toilet routine as best you can will help them.  They won’t notice as much of a difference when you’re away. Dogs especially love routine so doing this will help to alleviate any potential issues when you’re out of the house again.

4. Don’t make a big deal over leaving and returning

To help them get used to you coming and going, try and not make a huge fuss when you’re leaving or coming back. This can build up too much excitement for your pet. This one is hard to do we know, just try and keep the excitement a bit more low key.

5. Help them get use to being alone.

By doing plenty of alone time in short bursts during the day, your pet will get used to it. Cats should adjust much quicker than dogs if they’re suffering from separation anxiety.
A few other things that can help your pet is simple exercises like opening the door and closing it without leaving. Taking your keys off the hook and putting them back and putting your shoes on and off a few times. (Really anything you usually do when leaving the house will work here.) This will help make you leaving a normal event for your pet and it will decrease the stress when you are leaving or the excitement of you returning.
Of course if you notice anything else in your pets behaviour you’re worried about, do contact a trainer or behaviourist. (If there is any physical warning signs you should chat with a vet too.)

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