The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has had many unintended consequences, and amidst all the negatives, there’s no doubt your pet has delighted in all the special attention and quality time with you over the last few months. However, your pet may have become accustomed to this "new normal" and may struggle when you are back at work and spending less time with them. So, what can you do to help them adjust and make it less ruff on them?
Just as your pet adjusted to your lockdown routine, we should not underestimate their ability to notice even the smallest changes in your daily routine. It may take work, but it’s definitely pawsible. Start by leaving the house more frequently, even if for shorter periods to signify a change. This can be during your usual trips to the shops where you would usually take your dog with you; rather leave them at home so that they can get used to not being with you all the time.
You can even try wearing your work clothes (if they differ at from what you have been wearing at home) or engaging in “leaving for work” rituals, like giving them a treat before you leave or saying certain reassuring phrases before leaving the house. Try these before leaving on your short excursions to help them adjust.
Exercise & Mealtimes
Just as almost everything has been affected by lockdown, so might your pet’s daily exercise and feeding times. You may have been sleeping later during lockdown or been on longer and more frequent walks to get out of the house.
Getting back to your work routine will change these times and potentially unsettle your dog. Essentially, you will need to introduce the old eating and exercise schedules and resist feeding them outside of these hours.
Additionally, your dog may spend most of their time in a certain area of your house or property when you are usually at work. They may have become used to being at your side constantly, in which case you will need to get them used to being in these areas again during your usual working hours so that the initial sepawration doesn’t feel too severe.
Whether you have the time to prepare your pet for your return to work or not, it can be hard to avoid the stress and anxiety of upcoming separation. Please read our blog post on separation anxiety for more tips and information, and don’t be afraid to consult your veterinarian if you sense a deeper feeling of melancollie. Your pet may present anxiety-like symptoms, but these could also be a sign of more serious underlying health concerns which should be first ruled out.