In 2021, many of us are or will be returning to work. Although we may be thankful for the time away from home, our pets may have a different reaction. Experts suggest that the coronavirus lockdown may lead to increased separation anxiety among indoor cats and dogs. As a result, they may have a negative response to their families leaving home for longer periods of time.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Cats and dogs with separation anxiety experience distress when they are separated from their families, even for a short period of time. This isn’t normal distress; pets with separation anxiety show signs of intense fear and even panic.
A pet with separation anxiety often shows signs when their guardians prepare to leave. At this time, they may try to prevent people from leaving the house. Immediately after the family’s departure, the pet may start barking or yowling for attention. Often, they will urinate or defecate on the floor. They might pace back and forth or refuse to move for long periods of time. They may also destroy furniture, carpets, or other objects as an attempt to quell their distress.
Separation anxiety may also cause pets to attempt escape. In an attempt to find their families, many pets get lost or injured on their frantic trips outside. This is one major reason why you should take steps to manage your furry friend’s separation anxiety.
Managing Mild Cases
Many pets, especially dogs, experience some level of separation anxiety. If they love having you around, it certainly makes them a bit sad to see you leave. Start by giving them a little treat when you leave the house. For dogs, this could be a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter or perhaps a catnip toy for cats. Take away the treat when you get home; make sure they associate it with your absence. While it is not a replacement for you, this treat can certainly be a distraction. You can also leave out some of your worn clothing; having your scent available will make your leaving less drastic.
Managing More Severe Cases
Some pets experience much worse separation anxiety. This is most common with rescued pets, who may have been previously abandoned and require a bit more love. You may need to condition these pets to expect your return. Start by going through the motions of leaving (getting your keys, putting on shoes, etc.) and not leaving. Repeat this several times per day, then start leaving for short amounts of time. This should change the expectations your pet has around leaving.
If this does not work, contact your vet. Your pet may require anti-anxiety medication to mediate their stress. Many pets take and find success in mental health treatment; your vet can help you determine the best brand and dosage of medication.
At Claws N Paws, your pets needs are always a priority. We provide professional grooming services to your cat or dog right here in Fountain Valley, CA. Right next door, we provide cats-only boarding in our separate facility. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today at 714-962-1005.