Let's face it, getting through a pandemic with a pet by your side is the only way to go. We have all heard over the years about how having pets can lower your blood pressure, lower your anxiety levels, and help you not feel so lonely. During the months of social distancing and self-isolation, we've needed these benefits even more!
While we've been Working From Home moving from the bed to the couch to the dining room table (and back to the bed again), our pets have performed those same movements right alongside us. They've gotten used to us being home all the time. They've had constant companionship, more frequent walks, lots of two-way conversations, and plenty of cuddles.
They've probably also experienced the "Quarantine-15," those extra pounds we've all put on while wearing sweats and having access to snacks 24/7.
After we turn the calendar to 2021, an increasing number of us will be returning to the more traditional workplace. We will be setting our alarms, actually getting dressed, and leaving the house on a daily basis. We will be trying to figure out yet another "new normal."
Watch for signs of anxiety
How do we try to make our pets understand? This will be a major re-adjustment for them. Meals might be at different times, walks may be lessened, and the lack of cooking shows being played on the television will all take some getting used to.
During this transition, you might notice some behavior changes in your fur babies. Some dogs might: become furniture chewers, start whining, experience poor eating habits, or start to have bathroom accidents in the home. Some pets might seem depressed prior to their mom or dad's departure, and act like they haven’t seen you in years once you return home that same day.
Separation Anxiety in pets is a real thing. The Animal Humane Society states that "the true definition is a dog who panics when left alone." (Source: Animal Humane Society)
Nobody wants to see their pets go through this. What can we do?
Help your pet transition
First, it's a good idea to get your pet accustomed to being left alone again. Start by doing short trips away (taking a 15-minute walk without your dog). If your pooch seems to be handling that well, you can extend your walk to 30 minutes-each time observing your pet's behavior and making adjustments, as needed.
Invest in some toys that will provide a good timely activity for your pet. You can hide treats, or even peanut butter, inside of a Kong-style chew toy for your dog. This will give him something to do while you're away.
If your kitty needs a fun activity, there are toys that they can play with that will also dispense a tasty treat from time to time. This gives your cat an opportunity to exert some energy and helps to keep your little princess preoccupied.
When you are home, make sure that your dog or cat is getting exercise. Take your pup for a long walk after dinner. Use a piece of string for your cat to chase. A tired pet is not a destructive pet.
Offer some soothing treats
Lastly, it's just fine to consider using pet calming aids, such as a Thundershirt, or CBD oils and chews.
Consider adding these products from Healthy Roots Paws to your routine that will assist with your pet's anxiety. These Calming Pet Chews are peanut butter flavored and have natural ingredients like chamomile and Valerian Root, along with Full Spectrum Hemp Extract and CBD Oil.
The Calming Pet Drops include Hemp Extract and CBD Oil mixed with Coconut Oil. CBD and Hemp have been shown to have calming effects and can reduce nervous behaviors in pets. Reducing stress is important to help your pets ease their anxiety and live a more calm and happy life.
These are uncertain times for all of us. Our pets have been there for us every step of the way during this weird social distancing year. Let's make sure we are here for them as we enter the next phase of moving forward.