Many American families spend the hours between 7am and 6pm out of the home. We head off to our jobs, schools or social events. March 2020 found many family members staying home. With Covid-19 spreading across the United States our leaders adopted Shelter at Home policies to help "flatten the curve" and protect us. While we humans were adjusting to the new norm of staying home our furry family members found delight in having their people with them 24/7!
As the weeks progressed, our pets adapted to having people with them continuously. We were there to let them outside whenever they wanted, we gave them more treats throughout the day and had plenty of time to play with them.
As we are nearing the end of our Shelter at Home time many of our pets may experience a new phenomenon. Separation Anxiety is exactly as it sounds. Pets experience anxiety when we leave them. They are companion animals. They want to be with us. Following us as we move through the house, waiting "patiently" outside the bathroom door and being under foot while we cook. I speak from personal experience. We adopted a puppy last fall. She quickly learned our routine of heading to school/work in the morning. Many evenings we have extra-curricular activities. She quickly adapted to this "normal". The second week of March brought a brand new normal to her. She has had her human with her almost all day every day for the last 6 weeks. Many pets are in the same situation.
We are approaching a time when we can start venturing out. We need to think about how this will affect our 4-legged family members. They will now be faced with hours of being alone. While this may not have bothered them before they have had several weeks of us being available to them and they will certainly miss us as we get back to our lives outside of the house. Now is the time to start conditioning our pets for their new reality.
Please read Preventing Seperation Anxiety After COVID-19 and DIY Enrichment Ideas For Dogs, for great suggestions on how to reduce the anxiety that many pets will be facing as families return to their lifestyle of pre-Covid-19. We are here to help you and your furry companions as you emerge from the Shelter at Home experience to our new normal!