Like it or not, some of us are transitioning from work-at-home to office life. And many pets are unimpressed.
From Moping to Coping
We delved into how to keep your puppy assistant busy while working from home. But now we’re shifting gears to ways to keep them happy when you’re away during the day.
If you’re a dog owner, you know they somehow pick up on when we’re getting ready to leave, watching us intently as we go through the rituals to get out the door, fearing they’ll be stuck at home all alone.
For some dogs, separation anxiety isn’t a big deal — even if they do guilt us with puppy dog eyes. But for other dogs, the idea of being left behind can be quite problematic.
“Separation anxiety occurs when pets develop high levels of stress and anxiety when left alone. These feelings can translate into some undesirable behaviours,” says veterinarian, Serge Chalhoub, who works at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
Common indications of separation anxiety includes barking, panting, drooling, urinating or defecating inappropriately and destruction, says vet and owner of the Calgary-based Sundance Animal Hospital, Jennifer Richards.
“There are some dogs who panic to the point of self-injury, breaking teeth, injuring their nails and trying to get out of the crate, room or house, depending on where they are left,” she adds.
Here is an article to recognize signs of separation anxiety and learn how to help your dog cope a bit better.
While more serious cases require a visit to the vet, a little planning and some helpful tools can ease many dogs into long days without you.
How to Help a Dog with Separation Anxiety
Bolstering their toy supply or hiring a dog walker are a couple of ways to set a dog up for success. But preventing the problem is better and may be easier than you think.
Dogs and cats are smart and many, rightfully so, think they have us figured out. But do they?
While many recognize our so-called departure cues, (like putting on our shoes, grabbing our wallet or car keys,) mixing it up can work wonderfully, according to the experts at VCA Animal Hospitals.
“When you are stuck at home, pick up your keys now and then. Get dressed in your running shoes or work shoes even if you are not going anywhere. Then stay home and watch a movie or cook dinner,” the VCA experts suggest.
“Try to avoid pairing specific actions and activities with infrequently leaving home. The goal is to prevent creating a link in the pet’s mind between departure cues and feelings of anxiety about being alone. Practicing these techniques for pets without separation distress helps protect against developing it in the future – especially now when our routines may be significantly changed.”
Easy Routines to Help Your Dog Wag Their Tail When You Walk Away
If you have the time, this two-week plan will prepare your dog for downtime while you work. Even if you don’t, some hacks, like creating a safe space for your dog, sticking to a schedule and dog-proofing your home can help.
Cats get Lonely Too
Cats may have a reputation for being rather independent but they’re also creatures of habit who don’t like it when we mess with their routine.
If your feline is going potty somewhere other than the litter box, disinterested in food, meowing excessively or being overly destructive, they may be having a hard time with your return to work.
Strategies to help felines include creating a new routine or toys that help stimulate their brains.
Don’t forget, the return to the office is tough on some owners, too.
Those folks might benefit from tech to entertain the dog and/or keep you two connected while you’re away. Things like the Furbo 360 ° Dog Camera are a great way to stay connected by letting you talk to and reward your pet from a distance.