Many are going back to school and work for the first time in a year! What a thought! But, here is the rub – whilst humans are struggling to adapt to the big change and worried about coming out of lockdown – we can at least talk about it.. That isn’t the same for our animal friends.

With the changes ahead – you and your animals will need time to make adjustments for there to be fewer people in the home, longer periods of time on their own or even an empty house for a few hours.  This can negatively impact the healthiest of animals if you aren’t prepared.

While your dog or even cat may have been very secure before the year of lockdown, that does not mean they will automatically just adapt instantly to you and the family being out all day especially if everyone was home for much or all of the past year!

HOW TO HELP:

  1. Take some time each day this week being out away from home for longer periods of time.
  2. Use your voice to provide verbal reassurance of when you are coming back, in words they can understand i.e mealtimes, sunsets, and sunrises NOT in a little while, or after so many sleeps!
  3. Be mindful not to be more than 4 hours if you can help it, to begin with, and build it up.
  4. Prepare them by talking to them and taking them for a little walk before you go (for the dogs of course, and leave them with a brain toy, kong, or dog tv.)
  5. For your cats, let them know you are coming back, and that you will be back before / after tea or lunchtime.
  6. Think about investing in a camera so you can monitor them while you are out.
  7. Put on dog tv nice and low so they have some background music and something to distract them, sometimes cats quite like it too!
  8. Give them lots of praise when you get home and play with them or take them for a short walk again.
  9. Be consistent with it!
  10. Final tip if you find your cat or dog is not coping with the change, then look up a local dog walker or pet sitter who may be able to come in and walk yours or sit with them for a bit of company, even 1 day a week out of 5 can make a HUGE difference.

SIGNS OF ANXIETY

Anxiety in animals can look like very destructive or unwanted behaviours.   Anxiety left untreated can build up and turn into unwanted behaviours that are harmful to others.  If you notice any of the following consider reaching out to a professional to support you at this time.

  • Panting
  • Lip licking
  • Yawning
  • Freezing
  • Shaking
  • Hiding
  • Avoiding
  • Shredding
  • Pacing
  • Toileting in the home
  • Peeing on the bed
  • Tearing things up
  • Digging the floor or carpet
  • Crying, whining, howling, or barking

Like most sentient beings, Dogs have emotional, physical and mental needs.  Just walking a dog the same route day-to-day is not going to cut it with managing it’s emotions or need for mental stimulation.   The ‘pack’ going from being at home all day to not, is going to impact your dog’s wellbeing.

Even if your dog isn’t much of a player, not motivated by a ball or stick then do not despair.  There are other games you can try especially if your dog is motivated by food or praise.

In the same way as our animals – the new routines will upset children and adults alike. Some of these tips may be just as applicable for them too!

If you have found this helpful DO forward onto your animal owning friends please. Thanks.

I look after ALL your families needs – not just the human ones either! Echo helps with this understanding too..

© Gayle Palmer Living Elements Clinic

Echo the standard poodle is the clinic receptionist.

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