7 Ways to Help Your Pets Cope with Staying Home Alone After Quarantine

The pandemic has changed life as we know it.  Current safety guidelines ensure we do everything in our ability to stay healthy and protect ourselves and our loved ones.  With this extra time being spent at home, we are able to bond with our pets.  However, what happens when we have to go back to work?  Below we’ll discuss how to help your furry friends cope with separation anxiety. 

Diagnosing Separation Anxiety

Imagine: after a long day spent working and jumping from one place to the next, you arrive home exhausted.  Your dog greets you ecstatically by jumping up and down, with a wagging tail and an endearing smile.  However, you see a mess of ruined shoes behind them.  Don’t panic or lose your temper; this could be a sign of separation anxiety.  Basically, if your pet exhibits whining, drooling, an inability to settle when alone at home, or any destructive behavior, it’s a sign that they are struggling with separation anxiety.  Pay close attention to your pets so you can spot the signs. 

How to Help Your Pets Cope with Separation Anxiety 

  1. Create a daily routine for them 
  2. Make sure you provide enough activity 
    • Physical exercise and mental stimulation are both necessary to ensure your pet is living a healthy, active lifestyle 
    • Don’t over-stimulate your pets because they might not be able to relax once you leave the house
  3. If you choose to confine your pet in a separate room, make sure it’s the same one every time
    • Place your pet’s bed and some of your belongings in the room so they can have a comforting scent (sweaters, blankets, etc.)
    • Always have food and water 
    • Remove valuables and make sure your pet can’t get out so they don’t hurt themselves 
    • Try playing soothing music as you leave them in their designated spot.  It will calm their nerves
      • Studies have also shown that audiobooks are soothing to stressed animals because the sound of a human voice calms them
  4. Every time you leave the house, leave your pet with a chewable item to keep them engaged 
    • Examples: stuffed frozen kong, bully stick, puzzle game, or any other high value treat 
  5. Use the same phrase as you leave the house so your pet understands your temporary departure 
    • Do not cause a scene when you leave, so your dog will think the time spent apart was not a big deal 
  6. Project calm, confident energy as you leave
    • Animals are very observant and empathetic.  They can feel when we’re happy, sad, and scared.  If you display a calm attitude, you pet will feel little need to worry in your absence
  7. If your pet chews, claws, scratches, or otherwise damages a valuable item, please don’t get angry at them
    • Animals have  short-term memories, and they won’t understand what they did wrong.  They will only feel bad that you are yelling at them
    • Instead, use preventative and management techniques to teach them good behavior 

Our pets rely on us to give them food, shelter, and love.  With the abundance of time spent at home recently, it is understandable that they will have trouble adjusting to life back to normal.  Be compassionate towards their feelings, and do everything in your power to ensure they feel comfortable being home alone again.  Don’t forget to tell your furry friends that you love them! 

Check out the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (SPCA LA) website to learn more about how to care for your pets: https://spcala.com/programs-services/

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