Experts Warns Dog Owners Should Start Preparing For Return To Work Now To Avoid Causing Pet Anxiety
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An expert has warned that around 80 per cent of dogs will experience separation related anxiety when their owners return to the office to work.
Experts say that our pets are extremely sensitive to change and this can cause stress and anxiety for them.
Clinical animal behaviourist Sarah Tapsell says it's important to think about your dog's routine pre-lockdown, in comparison to how it is now.
She explains: "If you've been home more then it's likely your cat or dog's routine has changed significantly. Times for feeding, playing, walking and attention may all be slightly different. Your pet may be getting more or less of these things than before, depending on changes in your schedule."
"Cats and dogs can adapt to changes in a routine but it's really important to think ahead, plan and begin making small, gradual changes to help ease them into it.
"Otherwise, when things change suddenly, it could come as a shock. Even the most resilient of cats and dogs can get worried at times."
And it's not just dogs that feel anxiety at the thought of being at home alone. Some cats have also embraced the WFH life of their owners and experts add that they too could find it difficult when their owner goes back to work.
So, what can you do to help your pet get used to you going back to work?
The RSPCA suggests that making small changes now, in preparation for a return to the office in the future, will reap benefits.
Dogs are social animals and it is normal for them to want to spend time with people. As such, it is important not to leave your dog for too long or longer than they can cope with.
The RSPCA recommends leaving your four-legged friend for a maximum of around four hours and using a pet sitter or dog walker if you need to leave them for longer.
It's important also to set time aside to spend quality time with your pooch, doing things they enjoy, whether that's playing, grooming or just spending time together on the sofa.
In preparation for returning to the office, gradually change timings, such as when you will feed them, or the time you'll go for a walk to what they're likely to be when you're back in the office, to help ease them back into their old routine.
Other tips include slowly decreasing the amount of attention your pet gets, while simultaneously increasing the amount of time they spend on their own, as well as giving them a new toy to distract them.
"Don't completely ignore them as this could be confusing," the charity adds.
And ensuring that your pooch has somewhere cosy to rest means they'll have a place where they can feel safe if they do have any separation anxiety.
And, when you are able, the RSPCA adds, "start leaving the house without them to gradually reintroduce them to this part of the routine again."
"Slowly build up the time you're out. You could sit in the car to read a book or go into the garden."
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