Post-lockdown tips for you and your dog 

Find out how to avoid separation anxiety in your dog when you return to work

25.6.2021

How will our dogs cope, now that we are slowly returning to work? 

We are all aware that the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on both humans and animals.  

Many pets during the lockdown restrictions were certainly happy about seeing their owners around all the time.  Other pets don’t even know another reality as millions of families turned to dogs and cats as a source of comfort during these challenging times and brought new animals into their homes.  

This raises concerns about how dogs will be affected when our lives slowly return to normal. As the restrictions are being lifted, families will no longer have the same time to give their pets, and so they could become the new victims of Covid-19.   

While they often do not fit perfectly into our routines, it is possible to make things work for us and our dogs. To help make things a little easier we have pulled together 7 tips on how to prevent your dog of developing separation anxiety as you return to your work routine: 

  • Practice leaving the house alone - first leave the house for just a few minutes, extending it to 15 minutes, then half an hour etc. Gradually your pet will learn to trust that you will return.  
  • Organize your dog’s day to match your work routine – plan enough exercise and cuddling time!  
  • Walk and feed your dog before leaving the house – they will take a long nap! 

Keep them occupied:   

  • Use food enrichment toys such as Kongs   
  • Put a treat in an ice-cream container, fill it with water and freeze it. Your pet will enjoy waiting for the ice to melt and revealing the surprise   
  • Hide some treats and toys all around the house. You can also create a Snuffle Mat 
  • Ignore your pet sometimes, especially when they are demanding too much attention  
  • Reward your pet for calm, chilled and independent behaviour  

Dressing and undressing cues: Put on shoes, a jacket and other outfits several times a day without leaving your home. Animals are clever at associating typical exit rituals leading up to their owners leaving the house, but seeing that you don’t always leave every time will reduce anxiety.

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Joana Fernandes

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Joana supports the UK investigations Team by managing illegal puppy trade cases reported to the FOUR PAWS UK. She also liaises with the Communication Team helping to raise awareness about this issue. She has over five years experience as a researcher and project assistant in wildlife conservation and animal welfare, both in the UK and internationally.   

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