Working from home has become the new normal, but what happens when life slowlyreturns to normal and your four-legged dog or cat is left to their owndevices?
To help reduce separation anxiety in pets and ensure a smooth transition backinto ‘real life’ as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift across the country,PETstock VET Dr Sasha Nefedova has compiled some expert tips to aide petparents with the process:
Monitor symptoms of anxiety
For any animal that already suffers from anxiety the transition will bedifficult. Even for dogs that
have not shown any pre-existing signs of anxiety, being with their pet parentfor every hour of the day to suddenly only mornings and nights is likely totake an emotional toll on your pet.
Symptoms of anxiety in pets include trembling, licking of lips, pacing,increased drooling or salivation, shaking or a decrease in appetite.
Allocate alone time
Establishing a strong daily routine will ensure your dog can have a sense ofsafe familiarity when you return to the office. While working at home, it isrecommended that you physically distance yourself from your pet for at leastan hour twice a day. Placing your dog or cat in a quiet room away from you andyour workspace, or in the backyard, will help make the transition to yoursudden absence much easier on them.
While you’re are at home, ensure you’re taking your dog out for a walk beforeor after each workday. Keeping walks to before or after work will helpestablish a routine that they are familiar with when you return to yourworkplace, rather than expecting a walk at lunchtime. Exercising togetherdaily will improve the bond between you and your pet, as well as calm them andreduce their anxiety.
Enrichment toys such as Kong’s or food puzzles will keep your dog, cat orrabbit busy for hours and offer a sense of comfort. Giving your dog a ‘job’ todo will keep them mentally stimulated and help manage their anxiety orboredom. However, it’s important that you identify the cause of their anxietyso you’re not at risk of reinforcing the issue.
Thundershirt is an anti-anxiety weighted coat for dogs, that works to calmtheir nerves if they are feeling anxious, overexcited or fearful; particularlyduring winter when there is greater chance of storms, heavy rain, or hail. Thegentle, constant pressure of a Thundershirt has a calming affect on a dog’snervous system and is a safe and drug free solution to help combat your dog’sanxiety.
Some pets with anxiety respond well to music being played. Calming music inthe background is an effective distraction from silence and will sooth theirnerves. While you are still working at home, it’s the perfect time to testthis method so that you can monitor their reaction closely. If they sleep anddon’t present any signs of feeling anxious, then leave some music playingthroughout the day when you make the transition back to your workplace.
If your pet’s anxiety worsens, speak to your vet about medication to help withtheir condition. Customers can call 13 PETS for more information oralternatively video chat with a veterinarian in Australia 6am to midnight fromthe comfort of your own home on PETstock’s Vet Chat service HERE.
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