If you are like many you adopted a pet during “shelter in place.” It truly makes my heart so happy to hear about all the dogs and cats adopted during this crazy time in history. This has been a win-win situation. But now it is time to go back to work and you are feeling bad about leaving your COVID-19 buddy behind. Here are some helpful tips to help alleviate stress for both you and your pet.
Start Leaving Them for Short Periods-
There has probably been someone constantly home since March. The dogs love the constant companionship. But the cats might be getting annoyed! LOL Start leaving the house for short periods of time. Leave a couple of treats down for the dog and then EVERYONE leaves. Start with a small amount of time like going to the convenience store and work up to a few hours. Always greet your pup warmly with lots of affection when you come home so they will know what to expect in the future. A walk or playtime in the backyard would also be a nice treat.
Make Your Dog A Space Where They Feel Safe-
Make sure you leave your pet in a safe place that they know. A nice bed and food and water of course. You can also leave one of your shirts that smells like you to add comfort. If you crate your pet when you return to work, you might want to crate them a few hours a day before you start back so it won’t be such a shock.
Be Patient-
Dogs with separation anxiety may have an accident in the house or chew up their toys. Do not punish them as they will have forgotten by then and won’t associate the punishment with the action.
Keep Them Entertained-
Chances are that you were walking your pup at least once a day. Probably more! Make a plan to keep them entertained. Having a dog walker come to see them while you are at work is a great option. They have a new friend to come walk them every day and give them lots of cuddles. They also refresh water, give treats, and even feed them if they are used to having lunch. Usually, they have a good afternoon nap after their walk. It will also help alleviate stress and keep them from being destructive.
If you got a young cat or kitten that still has lots of energy get them some interactive toys. You can find a variety of them at Petsmart or Chewy.com
Sweet Reunion-
At first, it will be hard for both you and your pets. But, after a week or so you will both settle into a new routine. The reunion at the end of the workday will definitely be something you both look forward to. When not working try to take your dog with you as much as possible. Starbuck’s, Restaurant patios, and dog parks. Please maintain social distancing to keep everyone safe.