Ever since the shutdowns that began due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, most families have been spending more time at home. From work to school and even weekend activities – the home has truly become a central hub for all activities. For some this slow down and time to connect has been a welcome change. For others, the timeline to get back to old routines and out of the office can’t happen soon enough.
One family member we may not be thinking of is our furry friends. They’ve also now over these 9+ months become comfortable with more snuggle time with their families, perhaps a change in feeding routines, bathroom breaks, and even playtime.
All of these things will drastically change back once going back to work and school begins.
One recent study even found that 78 percent of working pet owners are concerned about anxiety and/or confusion for their pets when they return to their normal work schedule and 75 percent are worried over their own personal anxiety when they return to work and will be without their pet.
To help ease your pet into this time in advance we are offering a few key tips for helping them to readjust to the old ways.
Begin with Old Rituals Early
Your pet is smart. They know when changes are occurring so it’s important to have a plan in place early on. If you will need to change feeding times to make it out onto the road start waking up early and getting that routine started now, in case there are any hiccups along the way and to help them get comfortable and readjust to the new patterns.
Keep an Eye out for Stress Indicators
Most pets – especially dogs, will show signs of stress in very predictable ways. Things like chewing up shoes and couch pillows or having sudden potty accidents can typically be traced back to stress, boredom and under activity. As your pet gets used to you not being in the home or taking mid-day walks and bathroom breaks, it’s important to be patient and perhaps spoil them with an extra chew toy or extra after dinner outdoor playtime to make up for the gap.
Increase Bonding and Togetherness at New Times
The great thing about pets is that they’ll take the extra love whenever you want to give it to them! So if you’re lacking in that department because you’re all busy at work and school again, be sure to leave some extra time to dedicate attention and snuggles with them when you are home. Plan weekend outings that involve your dog if you can or share movie time together.