As many Australians prepare to return to the office after many months ofworking from home, PetSafe ® Australia is urging pet owners to follow somesimple tips to help prepare their four-legged family members as well.
During the past year, pets have become dependant on their owners being home24/7. But as some of us start to return to life post-pandemic, our pets are atrisk of suffering from separation anxiety – a potentially debilitating anddestructive psychological condition that is thought to affect one in everyfour to six dogs1.
PetSafe®Australia has partnered with Australian vet and TV presenter Dr.Katrina Warren to develop six simple tips that can help make the transitionback to our daily schedules easier for you and your furry loved ones.
“Any animal that bonds closely to a human can experience anxiety when they aresuddenly separated,” shares Dr. Katrina. “However, dogs bond very closely tohumans and seem to suffer the most.”
Cases of separation anxiety in dogs are expected to rise as we begin to returnto the office. But how can you tell if your dog is doing it tough? “There area few signs that quickly hint to us that a dog is anxious,” says Dr. Katrina.
“When COVID-19 is a thing of the past and we all return to our normalroutines, you might see changes in your pet’s behaviour,” says Dr. Katrina.“In adolescent dogs, this might be purely boredom – but others they may beexperiencing separation anxiety.”
“Dogs with separation anxiety become extremely stressed when separated fromtheir guardian. This can manifest in a variety of behavioural issues, forexample, barking and howling, a change in toilet habits and destructivebehaviours like chewing and digging.”
All of these things can be costly for you – not to mention exhausting for yourneighbours – and the added stress for pets and their human parents alike isnot needed.
“More serious signs of separation anxiety can include loss of appetite, hidingin corners, panting or whining or trembling,” advises Dr. Katrina, “and mightrequire your vet’s support to manage.”
Dr. Katrina and PetSafe® Australia recommend the following six tips that mayhelp your dog avoid developing separation anxiety and reduce everyday stresslevels when you return to work.
Do some exercise!
Make sure your dog has a decent walk or gets some energetic exercisebefore you leave for the day. A tired dog has less energy to be anxiousand destructive.
Leave a challenging treat
Just as you’re leaving, give your dog a chewy treat that will take his or hermind off your departure. Treat-dispensing toys like the PetSafe ® _BusyBuddy ® _range are the perfect solution as they can occupy dogs for hours asthey work to get the treats.
Keep calm on your departure and return
Don’t make a big fuss when you are leaving the house or coming home. Stay calmand emotionless. If your dog gets excited and jumps all over you when youarrive home, ignore them and walk away calmly. Greet them only when they havecalmed down.
Set up a realistic routine and practice it
In the days and weeks before you head back to work, get your dog used to aroutine that will be manageable once you are actually working away from homeagain. For example, if you are going to go for shorter walks and at differenttimes to what you do currently, start getting them used to the changes as soonas you can.
Create a dedicated ‘doggy den’
This is a safe space where your dog can always go and know they won’t bedisturbed. It could be a kennel, a pen, a crate or their bed area – whateveryou use, it’s a spot they can always retreat to in order to relax and feelsafe. Get puppies used to these areas from the time you bring them home byencouraging them to have their chew toys there and sleep there.
Find a pet sitter
Leaving your dog with a friend, relative or a dog-sitter is a great option; orif your dog gets on well with other pups, try doggy day-care. This doesn’tneed to be a long-term solution – start with five days a week, then ease themdown gradually, a day at a time, so they can slowly get used to days at homealone.
If you are concerned about your pet’s anxiety, seek professional advice fromyour vet. You may need help from an animal behaviourist, and some seriouscases may be prescribed an anti-anxiety medication, which they can reduce orwean off of in time.
Whatever steps you take to help ease your furry friend’s transition back tosolo time when you go back to work, don’t delay! There’s no time like thepresent. A gradual transition is far better than a sudden empty and verylonely family home. Start increasing your stints away from home and gettingyour pet used to their own company again as soon as possible.
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