Back to Work: Reducing Separation Anxiety for Your Pet

As states slowly begin easing restrictions and more people return to work or to the office, this can be a big change for everyone, including pets. For the past several weeks, your dog or cat has been used to having you home 24/7. When you go back to work and start leaving them alone for a few hours a day, they may experience some separation anxiety. This tends to affect dogs more than cats because cats are often fairly independent and aloof, but cats can become anxious or depressed as well.

So what can you do to help ease the transition?

Slowly adjust your schedule. If you know you’re heading back to the office soon, begin easing back into your work schedule. Feed your dog when you normally would before you leave or when you get home. Cut back on the number of walks or the length. Wake up and start moving around the house like you normally would to prepare. Not only will this help you get back into the swing of things, it can help your pet too.

Go for outings alone. Though your dog can be a great companion, take a walk or two without them each day. Gradually increase the amount of time you’re gone so they can get used to being alone. Check in to see if they continuously bark when you leave, and evaluate your house to see if they did any damage in your absence. If your dog is used to a crate (or you want to crate train them), now is the time to ease them back into being locked up for a little while. You may even do this while you are home but in another room.

Have some alone time – for everybody. Give your pet a bone, chew toy, or other type of stimulation to keep them occupied, then close the door or put up a gate and leave them by themselves for a while. You may be just upstairs or down the hall, but it’s good to practice some separation. You can also put a toy or treat in their crate to encourage them to go in, but leave the door open so they can get out. This can create a more positive association with the space because they know they’re not going in only when they’re in trouble, and they can get out on their own.

Rotate their toys. As you give your dog or cat some alone time and go out without them, keep them engaged by introducing a new toy, or cycling through some toys they haven’t played with in a while. This can serve as a distraction while you’re gone. Leaving on music or the TV can also break up the quiet so they feel as though someone else is there.

Getting back into the routine of going to work (and not just working from home) can take some time for everyone to adjust to. If you have to travel or know you’ll be working long days sometimes, consider boarding your pet at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. You’ll have peace of mind that they’re not alone for hours on end and have the attention and interaction they’ve become more used to over the past few weeks. They can get groomed while they’re there as well! Contact us today to schedule your dog or cat’s stay.

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