23 million. This is how many dogs and cats were brought into US households during the pandemic.
Now the boss wants us back into the office. Its breaking hearts! The pet parent doesn’t want to leave their furbaby. The pet is not happy about it either. The years of constant companionship during the lockdown forged intense co-dependent bonds between pets and their owners.
Pets came in all conditions. Some were rescued. Some were born during the pandemic. Some were older and more used to being left on their own. “Pandemic Puppies” and “Quarantine Kittens” as they are referred to seem to be having the toughest time. They were born into the constant togetherness and now that may suddenly change.
Helpful tips from the Pros in dealing with pet separation anxiety.
- Don’t use toys as a means to calm. It may become associated with the stress of being left alone.
- Ease them into it. While home, make time for a couple hours apart in different rooms so they can get used to not seeing you. Gradually and over time is the key here.
- If space is crunched-try a crate. This is a good place for a new toy. Associate the crate with a safe and fun space.
- Go for quick walks without them. Increase the time apart gradually. Record their behavior while apart if possible.
- Bring new care takers into their life. The new dog walker or babysitter will hopefully provide new opportunities for new attachments.
- The New York Times ran an article with specific advice from a vet:
“Use calming aids to help your pet relax.”
“Over-the-counter pheromones and calming aids help companion animals remain relaxed, especially when there has been a change in routine. Wirecutter and Dr. Sung both recommend Adaptil products for dogs and Feliway products for cats. “It helps increase their confidence and decrease their anxiety,” Dr. Sung said. Chewable calming treats are a little cheaper than pheromone sprays and diffusers. Look for calming supplements that contain alpha-casozepine, L-theanine or L-tryptophan, Dr. Sung added, because they’re backed by research. If you can’t afford commercial calming aids, place a used pillowcase or a T-shirt you’ve worn recently next to your pet’s favorite napping spot; it has your scent on it and should soothe the animal.” ( source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/08/smarter-living/wirecutter/pets-quarantine-separation-anxiety.html )
Now we have to help the humans! The feeling is mutual. People are feeling the separation issues too. No doubt it will influence what companies want to work for. Bring your pet to work privileges and/or continued work-from-home options will drive decisions for those that want to keep working-from-home with their fur baby constantly nearby.
I never miss the chance to repeat that the love between people and pets is very real and the inspiration for my brand Mettalusso.