There have been many joys with the “stay at home” order and one has been the delight of extra time spent with our pets. They have made us laugh and have kept us company throughout this ordeal, but we’re all pretty tired from this quarantine.
But as restrictions are slowly lifted, our faithful friends may become confused by the changes ahead. They have all become accustomed to the extra snuggles and hugs over the past months, and now they may even be a little over-dependent on us.
If your pet had anxiety issues before quarantine, you can expect him to have them when you go back to your regular routine. If your pet didn’t have them before quarantine, that’s great, but even so, most pets will benefit from easing into a new routine. You should look for both physical signs of stress as well as behavioral including barking, howling, whining, meowing, changes in appetite, over-grooming, chewing, scratching, and other destructive behaviors.
None of us want our buddies to stress out, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to slowly get our pets comfy as we transition to our new schedules. Remember pups really understand our ques (brushing your teeth, putting on work shoes, etc) so know when you are headed out. Here are some ways to prepare your pets once you get closer to returning to work.
Start with “no attention” periods. Put your pet in his crate if you use one, or you can go into another room and close the door for a bit. Do this for short periods several times each day. Depending on how your pet reacts, it may be as little as a few minutes to start but gradually increase the no attention periods just a little bit. Make sure your pet has a safe, comfy spot to relax in. You may want to give him a toy or stuffed Kong to occupy him for a while; this will help teach Fido that alone time can be fun. After a few minutes or so, let him out and give him a hug (don’t go overboard). Even if your pet whines a bit, leave him be, as long as he is not destructive.
Start instituting the leave for work routine you used to keep. Maybe you took a shower, had breakfast, fed the pets, let them out, grabbed your keys, and left. Start doing that again, even if you don’t have any place to go yet. Take a short walk or drive. When you come back if things look ok, give your pet a treat and a hug and move on, don’t make a big deal out of your return.
Every day on top of the leave for work routine, start leaving them alone. Go for another drive, a bike ride, or go to a park and read a book. Start small, just a few minutes but gradually increase the time you’re gone. Start this now during quarantine or a few weeks before you’re expected to return to your old routine. The more slowly you work into this, the less stress we’ll all have!
After all this time with you, some of your pets may not be as happy to see us. If we experience this, we’ll ask you to leave their absolutely favorite toy or treats out that only WE can give them or play with until their feeling back to normal. This will get them feeling a little more calm and happy to see us.
We are happy to help you in any way your pet needs and have already started to accept some boarding and house sitting jobs. Let us know when you’ll be starting your leave for work routine and we’ll be ready whenever you finally get back to the office. .