Going back to work may be tough on your four-legged friends

How to avoid pet separation anxiety

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Of course, your pet is part of the family, so it’s important to pay attention to your pet’s behavior and well-being once you change your routines yet again.

“Any kind of big change that your pet can sense can cause anxiety in your pet,” said Dr. Sarah Hicks, vet and medical director at Companion Animal Alliance (CAA).

As we return to work, it feels like we’re getting back into the swing of things, but your pet may feel a bit differently.

Separation anxiety is when your pet experiences stress after you leave the room. A two-month lockdown may have meant more time with your four-legged best friend, but it could also mean some behavioral changes when you head back to work.

“It could be something as subtle as shaking or panting more,” said Dr. Hicks.

It could also mean more whining or destroyed furniture in the house, so it’s important to focus on ways to keep our pets happy and healthy.

“It also comes down to us,” said Dr. Hicks. “We have to modify our behavior to help our pets.”

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One way to keep peace in the house is by not making it a big deal when you walk out the door. If you’re calm about going to work, then your pet may be too.

Another tip is making sure you pet has his or her own spot. Every dog needs a home.

“Finding a safe spot in your home for your dog for when you’re there and when you’re not there. This could be a crate or a dog bed,” said Carl Peterson, CEO of BarkBusters USA, a dog training group.

Peterson says this gives Fido a trusted space. He also thinks now is a good time to start weening some of the dependency.

“Creating some separation now even while you are at home so you feel like that dog isn’t following you everywhere,” he said.

Maybe for just 15 minutes a day, walk into another room and close the door. Then, your dog is left to be on his own in the safe spot.

“It’s hard to pull away a bit, but long-term, that will be helpful, so that way, they are not expecting you to be there 24/7,” said Peterson.

Staying on top of your pet’s behavior now could help make the transition easier for them in the weeks to come.

If you do notice some odd behavior from your dog, contact your vet or trainer. Sometimes behavioral changes can indicate an underlying physical health issue.

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