Going Back to Work? 5 Tips to Help Your Dog Cope
During the pandemic, animal shelters and breeders have reported a record peak in the number of adoptions and purchases for pets. These pets have helped make the long months of isolation at home a bit easier to cope. However, because of all the time we spend at home with our dogs, when the time comes for us to head back into the office to work, how will our dogs react when we are suddenly away all day? For some dogs, they may have separation anxieties. So how can we prepare our dogs or help them manage with separation anxiety when the time comes for us to return to work? Here are a few tips.
What Exactly is Separation Anxiety?
When your dog's schedule is suddenly changed and he finds himself home alone for many hours a day, that can cause your dog to have separation anxiety. This anxiety is more than just whimpering when you head out the house. It is followed up with major unwanted bad behaviors when you are not at home every time. Signs of this anxiety may include excessive pacing, barking, howling, urinating, defecating, or destroying items around the house such as shoes and bedding. They may show extreme neediness when you are around at home. This condition will not go away on its own, but there are ways to help your dog manage it.
Try to first understand why your dog is doing what he's doing. It's not because he is trying to get back at your for leaving. It is a sign of distress and frustration. Treat it as a medical condition. Your dog doesn't want to feel this way. Therefore, punishing your dog is never the solution. Plus, your dog won't be able to understand or connect that the punishment is due to something they did earlier. In fact, it may only make your dog's stress levels go up.
At the same time, you definitely don't want to go the opposite extreme by showing too much affection or praising your dog as this will also make the condition worse. You need to be balanced. The first and foremost step is to take your dog to the vet to make sure that your pet's condition is due to physical health conditions, if you notice signs of your dog urinating where he shouldn't be when you are out of the house.
Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to help ease your dog's stress & anxiety while you are away from home.
Exercise! Your dog needs enough physical and mental exercise to stay healthy and to help them cope with separation anxiety. Don't want to take your dog outside due to the pandemic? There are plenty of fun exercises you can do with your dog inside your home. You can start training your dog for when you will be away at work by taking them for a walk or doing some indoor exercises prior to you leaving the house (for errands such as groceries). This can help put your dog in a more relaxed state while you're gone. Also, exercising helps raise their endorphin levels so it may help with their anxiety and stress.
Don't Make it a Big Deal
What you do whenever you leave or return back home can significantly affect your dog. So don't make your absence a big deal. Whenever you leave and enter the house, don't show too much affection to your dog, as it will only emphasize the fact that you are away and leaving them alone. Also, try to figure out what triggers your dog's anxiety. If you notice that it's when you start putting on your shoes, then try it a few times in a day so that your dog can get used to it. Is it when you start your car? Then you can try starting it first and walking back into the house for a bit to get ready. In this way, you can help train your dog to see these anxiety triggers as normal and can help them better cope.
If you haven't started your work at the office yet, start practicing with short absences now. You can start by doing for a short errand and then gradually increasing the time away from home. In this way, by the time you are away a whole day for work, it will become a normal routine for your dog. If you're staying indoors at home, try spending time in a separate room from your dog periods at a time. This can also help them get used to you not being around.
Keep Them Busy
While you are practicing being away from your dog, you can also prepare some kind of activity to keep your dog entertained. When your dog is bored, it can make their separation anxiety worse. So get some toys such as a puzzle toy with stuffed treats to help keep your dog entertained while you are away from him. You can also leave a piece of clothing that you've worn recently somewhere in the house where your dog can easily locate. Your smell on your clothing can help comfort and soothe your pet while you are away.
If nothing seems to work or their condition is quite severe, you may consider supplements or medications that alter the brain's neurotransmitters to help create a sense of calm for your dogs. However, first contact your veterinarian to determine if this is for your pet. These supplements can help reduce your dog's anxiety and help them cope with suddenly being alone at home for hours at a time.You can consider trying Petaxin's Calm + Comfort Aid
as it is a safe & natural supplement to help relax and calm your dog. Plus, dogs love it because it comes in a bacon flavored soft chew!
Separation anxiety can be difficult on both your dog and for you. However, if you try implementing some of the tips we've mentioned, you can ease your dog's anxiety and prepare them now for when you return back to work. In this way, it will be easier on both of you!