By Liz McCauley, Executive Director of Cape Coral Animal Shelter
I’ve always been a “glass half full” kind of person, and I truly believe that for many, sheltering-at-home provided some of us the opportunity to slow down, stop, smell the roses, and enjoy the simple pleasures in life—like spending more time in the company of our furry companions. For them, this has been a dream come true! Their “people” are paying more attention to them–more walks, more treats, more play, snuggle, and couch potato time. Heaven!
But what happens when family that has been around 24-7 for weeks and months goes back to work and school? Suddenly, our pets are alone again for hours, getting less walks, and less attention. This could be traumatic for some animals that never experienced separation anxiety before and the result could be anything from whining, barking, being destructive, soiling in the house, or being just plain depressed.
So, what can you do to minimize this adjustment in the weeks to come? Animals cope much better and actually enjoy being in a routine. My dogs know exactly what time they eat, go out, go for walks, go to sleep. It gives them a sense of comfort and contentment. The best thing to do now is to keep your daily routine as close to normal as you can.
Walks should be around the same time. If your dog is crated during the day, crate him now—maybe not as long as normal but for at least part of the day. If he’s not normally crated, perhaps have your dog confined to a room away from you or go out for a walk by yourself so he gets used to you leaving.
Depending on the cat, they may experience this as well. If your feline is super friendly and interacts a lot with you during the day, the same rules apply. Make sure he has some “alone time” to minimize stress down the road. Of course, I am sure there are many felines out there that, honestly can’t wait for their owners to go back to work! But that’s a topic for another article!
At tempting as it is, showering your furry companion with love all day long during this time may make him miss you terribly when things return to normal. A few easy tricks now will help the entire family in the future.