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Preventing separation anxiety with your pets as you go back to work

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 7:33 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more available, a lot of people will be returning to the office. This transition may be hard for some pets who’ve been used to their owners working from home the past year. It could even cause separation anxiety for your furry friend.

“So many of our clients are calling their dogs that they adopted their COVID puppies because they haven’t known anything else,” said Veterinarian Dr. Sara Hofer with South Central Veterinary Clinic.

Dr. Hofer says to give your pets boredom busters.

“A treat toy, so a ball that would dispense treats randomly throughout the day,” said Dr. Hofer.

If you’re trying to train them to be in a crate while you are gone, start by putting them in a crate for short periods of time.

“Leave them for 20 minutes, run an errand, come right back. So they get used to you coming back. They know you’re going to come back,” said Dr. Hofer.

At first, try to visit them on your lunch break to ease their minds. Another option is to take them to doggy daycare a few times a week.

“Every pet is different. I would say if they are still young, they are more impressionable, easier to train. If they’re food motivated, they’re easier to train. If they are older and they’ve been home with their pet parents for over a year now because of the pandemic it could take a while,” said Dr. Hofer

She says cats may react differently to dogs.

“A lot of cats are awake during the night, sleep most of the day. So I think anxiety with cats centers a lot around making sure they are fed,” said Dr. Hofer.

She says signs of separation anxiety include destructive behaviors like tearing up or chewing on items they shouldn’t, panting, house soiling, diarrhea, and vomiting. Cats may urinate in other places than their litter box.

If nothing seems to be working Dr. Hofer recommends you visit your vet. They may prescribe anxiety medication as a last resort.

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