After many months of spending more time at home with our pets, this has become their new normal. Regardless of whether your pets have been part of the family for some time prior to COVID-19, or if they joined the family during and have not known life any other way, changes to restrictions in the future will mark a sudden and impactful change in your pet’s life.
Some pets will take this in their stride, while others will find it harder, and you may see some signs of separation related distress.
So how can you help them cope well when spending time alone?
Now is the time to start spending some time away from your pets where possible. Techniques include:
It is important to slowly increase your distance and/or time away from your pets so they can become confident and relaxed with the gradual changes.
There are many ways that a pet who is home alone might show you that they are experiencing separation related distress. Depending on the severity, pets may:
Video monitoring is a great way for you to see exactly what your pet gets up to and how they are coping when they are alone. There are many options on the market for this; you can purchase and install a pet camera that you can monitor remotely, or look for a dog monitoring app where no hardware is needed to be purchased, but may require two devices.
The signs of distress above can also be attributed to medical problems and other causes of anxiety. First thing to do if you are seeing these signs with your pet is to consult your Vet. Underlying medical problems need to be treated, and for severe anxiety - medication and supplements may be prescribed in addition to a behavioural plan.