Though it may have taken you a while to adjust to working from home throughout the pandemic, chances are that your pet couldn’t be happier to have you around all day. Unfortunately for your furry friend, WFH won’t last forever — despite what it might feel like right now. When it’s time for you to go back to the office, your dog or cat may have a difficult time acclimating to their newfound solitude. Here are a few tips and tricks from our experienced professionals to help your beloved pet transition into a healthy routine when things “get back to normal.”
How to Prepare Your Pets for the End of Working From Home
Start Prepping Your Pet Now
Even if you won’t be returning to work until the New Year or later, now is the time to ease your pet into a new schedule. When changing your pet’s routine, starting small is key. Dogs, in particular, are very attuned to human schedules — you may have noticed that your dog is highly aware of when dinner time is. The best way to prepare your dog for an extended absence is to leave the house for very short periods and then slowly build up to longer stretches of time. You can start by leaving your house for a short walk without your dog and eventually take progressively longer drives to get them accustomed to an empty house. If you’re concerned about your pet staying alone in silence, try leaving some classical or jazz music on to soothe their separation distress.
Dogs with separation anxiety may bark/whine constantly (a big problem for apartment dwellers), pant, pace, scratch or chew at the walls or furniture, and/or destroy things. These could lead to injuries, toxin or foreign body ingestion, and expensive repairs/replacement.Lucas White, DVM
Try Crate Training
Especially if your dog is likely to cause trouble without supervision, crate training can be a useful tool. If your dog has never been crated before, start while you’re at home during the day. Again, easing into the practice with short periods of time is more effective than starting cold-turkey with several hours of crating. Turn the crate into a positive experience for your dog by giving them a specific toy or special treat when they enter the crate.
An idea for those dogs who are used to being crated while the owner is away… could try crating off and on during the day while the owner is home. They can also build up to taking short drives away so the pet can get used to being at home without the owner.Michelle Casey, DVM
When the time comes for you to actually leave home, don’t make a big production of your departure. Saying a long, drawn-out goodbye can cause your pet to be more stressed out than necessary. Simply remain calm and quiet and leave the house without fanfare to minimize your pet’s anxiety.
If your pet displays signs of separation anxiety such as constant whining, barking, panting, pacing or scratching or chewing walls and furniture, check in with your veterinarian. A mild anti-anxiety medication could be helpful for your pet as you go back to work. Behavioral training could also be beneficial to help your pet become more independent and less reliant on medication in the long-term.
Talk to the Experts
For high-quality veterinary care from experts you can trust, contact Sunset Vet Clinic by calling (405) 844-2888 or emailing [email protected] today. Our experienced professionals are ready to help your pets acclimate to a new routine without stress and anxiety.