With the government beginning to relax lockdown measures and many people going back to work, our pets are at risk of experiencing separation anxiety when we’re back in the office.
Although an impressive 96% of the 150 owners we polled on Instagram told us their pets have loved having them home only 39% have so far began preparing their pets for life after lockdown.
But with only 33% of owners saying they were back to work, it might be perfect timing to begin making adjustments.
We asked Bought By Many’s vet nurse Sarah James to give us some tips on how help a smooth transition. Here’s her advice.
Begin reintroducing your normal routine
Introduce your new routine gradually if you can. This will help set your pet up for a successful transition.
You can do this by easing them into the experiences they might struggle with when you’re back at work.
For example, begin spending more time away from them during the day, perhaps in another room. You can also spend some time outside on your own, gradually widening the amount of time you make yourself absent from their environment.
Identify what parts of your normal daily routine might begin to trigger separation anxiety in your pet or the anticipation of it.
For example, if picking up your keys is the start of your pet becoming anxious, walk around the house with them in your pocket, fully dressed in your work outfit allowing your pet to settle, before leaving.
Puzzles, toys and healthy distractions
Giving your pets something fun to do while you’re away is a great way to help them associate being alone in the house with something other than your absence.
Toys, puzzle feeders, filled Kongs and other safe/appropriate items to chew on will help keep them occupied.
In addition, pets might like little reminders of you around the house. So why not leave something that smells like you for them to snuggle into when you’re gone, such as a pillow, or a piece of clothing.
And last but not least, a little background noise can go a long way. Leaving the TV or radio on at a low/sensible volume can be very soothing to an anxious pet.
Pheromone sprays for acute anxiety in pets
Natural pheromone diffusers are calming remedies designed to reduce anxiety in pets.
They can be plugged in and left on all day and there's a variety of different brands that sell them. Sarah’s personal favourite is Pet Remedy.
If you’re unsure what product to buy, or suspect your pet might be allergic, consult with your vet.
Sarah’s most important recommendation is “to be patient and consistent. Pets have possibly experienced the best and worst of 'lockdown' life, our return to a new normal is bound to affect them".
Suggestions from pet owners we spoke to
We polled pet owners on Instagram and some of them told us what they have been doing to prevent separation anxiety in their pets after the lockdown.
- Working in a home office and not engaging with the dog during 'normal working hours'.
- Allowing the dog walker to still come around as normal
- Installing tech to help monitor pets after lockdown
- Going for a walk without the dog every day.
If you’re worried about your pet’s physical or mental health, contact a veterinary professional.
Don’t forget that if you are a Bought By Many customer you can do so for free from the comfort of your home through the FirstVet app. All of our vet fee policies come with unlimited free access to FirstVet.
And finally, learn about how else you can help your pet during the Coronavirus outbreak here.