What Happens To Our Pets When Restrictions Are Lifted

How our faithful friends will handle being alone again.

Pets 08th Jun, 2021

When the pandemic hit and people were forced to start working from home, many found the freedom of being able to be more casual while doing their work a blessing but it was also a very lonely experience for many without the camaraderie and social interaction of their peers and co-workers. 

Just as workplaces and other public accommodations were shutting, animal shelters and rescue groups also found themselves in the precarious situation of what are we going to do with all the animals in our care.

Many people, due to their new found ability to take care of an animal because they were home 24/7 opened their homes as foster parents and adopters. It was truly a win-win situation for the people and the animals. The animals would get a home, the people had a faithful companion and for the next 12 plus months, animal and human inevitably developed a strong bond. 

So now that COVID restrictions are being lifted, mask mandates are loosening up and vaccination rates are moving higher and higher each day cumulatively worldwide, we are seeing people returning to a pre-COVID life – workplaces are reopening, social venues are slowly creeping their way back into the norms of society. Where does that leave our faithful companions? How will they handle being alone after being the main attraction for so long?

Well here are a few helpful tips from our friends at the American Kennel Club (AKC) – www.akc.org to reduce separation anxiety in your pets. (note: cats generally adapt to your absence easier and without much perceived care, that’s a cat for ya!) Generally, below, we will speak about dogs.

Social Distance From Your Dog/Cat: 

If your pet is constantly by your side, begin restoring a sense of independence. Encourage them to spend more time in their own bed, outside in a fenced yard by themselves, or in their crate while you perform a task that draws your attention away from them. When your pet settles down and relaxes, wait a couple of minutes and then praise them and give them a treat.

Work Up To Longer Distances And Periods Of Absence: 

Start by going into another room and leaving your dog alone for a few minutes. Gradually increase the amount of time your dog is left alone, while also working up to going outside without them. If your local restrictions or guidelines allow it, go on walks or long drives around the neighbourhood without your dog to get them accustomed to you leaving home again.

Ease Back Into Your Routine: 

A few days before you have to return to work outside the home, start getting up at the time you normally would and go through your normal morning routine, even leaving the house for a little while at the time you would normally leave for work. That way it won’t be as big a deal to your dog to see you go when the actual day arrives for your return to the outside world.

Provide Plenty Of Exercise: 

Give yourself enough time before you need to leave for the day to take your dog for a walk or engage in at least 15 minutes of vigorous play. This will help your dog burn off excess energy and help them stay relaxed and calm throughout the day.

Provide Interactive Toys: 

Complex puzzles and chew toys can help prevent your dog from getting bored and can also help comfort and distract them from other possible anxiety triggers, such as strange noises or activities happening outside.

Don’t Be Anxious For Your Dog: 

Dogs pick up on your mood and take their cue from you about how they should feel about new situations. The more you stay relaxed and behave like everything is normal, the more likely your dog will be to follow your lead and accept it when it’s time for you to go.

Remember that your pet will be super excited to see you no matter if you are coming home from work, out for a sorely missed cocktail or just a trip to the grocery for pantry items. Most of the anxiety from this event is on your side, so take a deep breath and remember you got through the past 12 plus months, this should be a breeze.

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