Pets Have Become Accustomed to Having Us With Them, Says Paula Bullock, Veterinarian
Many people who once commuted to work in an office have been working from home for several months. Pets have become quite comfortable with having their human friends at home all day with them. Being alone when people return to work may pose some challenges for these pets. Humans can help them make the transition, says Paula Bullock, a veterinarian.
One way to help them make the transition is to ease into it, says Paula Bullock. Begin by spending time away from the pet each day so that the pet becomes accustomed to being alone again. Slowly begin transitioning into a workday routine, gradually waking up earlier and establishing and sticking to the feeding times and playtimes that you will use once your return to work, says Paula Bullock, veterinarian.
Create a safe place for your pet, such as a bed, crate, or playpen, and introduce this safe place to your pet ahead of time, says Paula Bullock. Be sure your pet has something constructive to do while you’re gone. For example, stuff a toy with a favorite filling to keep their mind off of your absence or plant treats at different places throughout your home to amuse them. Consider taking a dog to doggy daycare to socialize with other pets or have a pet sitter visit your pet in the middle of the day, says veterinarian Paula Bullock.
Change is stressful for many pets. Some also suffer from separation anxiety. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety and stress will pant, pace, shake, hide, whine, or bark excessively. They also may become more clingy, drool, or have potty accidents even if they have previously been house trained, says Paula Bullock. Cats suffering from anxiety and stress may spray or soil the house, hide, or become aggressive. They may also change their sleeping or eating habits and do more destructive scratching. They may be more vocal than usual and groom themselves excessively, says Paula Bullock. If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, seek help from a veterinarian who may also be able to recommend a veterinary behaviorist or separation anxiety trainer, says Paula Bullock.
Paula Bullock was born in Lumberton, NC, and attended North Carolina State University for undergraduate and veterinary medical studies. She does veterinary work and is passionate about rescuing animals. Paula Bullock operates George’s Place Animal Sanctuary, which provides free veterinary care and finds forever homes for more than 8,000 pets annually.