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How to ease your pet’s separation anxiety once you have to return to work

With the return to work looking more and more likely, pet owners should now consider what this means for their pets, and what can be done to make this transition easier.

With the return to work looking more and more likely, pet owners should now consider what this means for their pets, and what can be done to make this transition easier. 

It’s important to ease your pets into this transition – going from spending every day with somebody, to suddenly being left alone for long or short periods of time is a jarring shift. This can result in separation anxiety forming in your pets. 

It goes without saying that prevention is better than cure, which is why easing your pet into this change now, is imperative. With dogs, it’s important to get into this new routine earlier – they’re intelligent animals that like to know what to expect. If you’re suddenly not there for their 2 pm walk, they’re going to know about it!

With cats, it can be a case of place over a person, so as long as they are still in the space they feel safe, they should hopefully feel okay without you there. Animals are creatures of habit, so it’s important to make this routine as simple and stress-free as possible, essentially creating a ‘new normal’ for them. 

It’s also important to realise there is no quick fix for this change – just as humans need time to adapt to change, our pets do too. Start slow now – go on short trips out without them, and build this up. Don’t expect them to adapt after one day, give them time to figure this out. 

When you’re not home, try and encourage them to have fun without you (as strange as it sounds!). Why not try hiding treats around the house? Or alternatively, get a new toy for them that only comes out when you’re gone, and you remove as soon as you return. When you’re gone, try and keep elements such as lights on or radio playing the same as you would on a regular day. 

Even with doing all this, it’s still important to look out for key signs of separation anxiety in pets – scratching or chewing at doors and windows, barking, drooling, panting, as well as urinating and defecating can indicate this. It’s also important to recognise how you feel during this time – it’s not just hard on your pets, this separation can affect people too. Take care of yourself and your pets, and if needed, speak to professionals about this change for the both of you. 

If you’re feeling nervous about this change or are concerned about your pet, we offer video consultations with qualified Vets, starting from just £15 for 15 minutes. You can book these simply via our website, or please get in touch if you would like more information.