Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Pets After COVID-19
Most of us have been at home over the last few months chilling on the sofa or working home. This has meant that we and spending a lot more time with our pets, absolute bliss! Unfortunately but necessarily life has to go back to normal(ish) and we all have to head back to work or school. This may mean that you are left with a little less time on your hands for your furry friend. Of course this is understandable to us but for our pets this can be a super daunting experience.
Separation anxiety is very common in puppies and sometimes in older dogs. In older dogs this can be caused by an abrupt change in routine or any stress and trauma. Unfortunately thanks to the effects of COVID-19, experts have estimated that there will be a sharp spike in the number of cases of separation anxiety recorded in pets. This is because lots of first time pet owners have joined the pet community during this time so there are now a lot of puppies and kittens running around peoples homes. It is also because we have been spending such an excessive amount of time with our pets. Since COVID began, I truly don't think I have spent more than a moment away from Bruno.
Reigning Cats and Dogs have a plan! Enrich and soothe. Surely it can't be that easy? In a lot of cases it really can be!
Step one is to identify your pet's mood/ energy levels at the time they experience a bout of anxiety. If your pet is energetic, playful, excited or bubbly then its time to enrich! When they are sleepy, lethargic or tranquil its time to soothe. You have to be able to read the signs and body language that your pet displays and react accordingly. We always recommend taking your dog out for a good walk or engaging in stimulating indoor play before you decide to leave them home alone as it will make is easier for them to chill out and relax while you are away. This is important as dogs that haven't been properly exercised are more likely to be destructive and naughty.
Pet's that face separation anxiety will show signs of distress. Feelings of anxiety sometimes comes out in erratic, strange and impulsive behaviours.
Enrichment allows pets to channel their feelings into a soothing activity which will benefit and relax your pet. Once incredible enrichment idea is to offer your pet a LickiMat. These are slow feeding mats which are sure to keep your pet entertained and busy. This unique product also prevents overfeeding whilst also ensuring your pet can be offered treats in a more sustainable and stimulating way. Wherever you find enrichment for your pets, it is super important to have an effective source of enrichment as a part of your pet's routine. Routine is another important word. Reinforcing a sense of stability into your pet's life will surely reduce anxiety.
An amazing way to combine enriching slow feeding with a little bit of rough-and-tumble is to find a treat dispensing toy such as the KONG Gyro or the Tug-A-Jug.
For a sleepy pet, creating a little cosy cove where they can go and hide away when they’re tired and a little nervous is absolutely perfect. We sell these gorgeous soothing pet beds which are known for calming pets. This is thanks to the bed's unique shape and texture. It has been designed to replicate a mothers hug. Igniting this natural sensory experience for your pet is an absolute treat and is perfect for calming nerves.
Something you could add to this cozy space is a soft, plushy toy which smells just like you. The way to go about this is to carry a soft toy around with you for a couple of hours and then leave it in your pet sleeping quarters. This way they will have an item that has absorbed your scent next to them, to comfort them while you are away.
Whatever your approach to easing pet anxiety, don’t give up and don’t feel defeated. As long as you do your best and ensure that your pet is loved and cared for then you’re doing a good job. You and your pet will get through this! In uncertain and difficult times it is absolutely essential to be kind. Kind to ourselves, kind to our friends, family and pets.
All the best,
Reigning Cats and Dogs