Post-Quarantine Separation Anxiety in your Pets

Perhaps you’ve seen the stories recently that animal shelters and rescue organizations all across the country are experiencing something they’ve never seen before: empty cages! Yep, one positive outcome of our stay-at-home orders has been a surge of pet adoptions, as people everywhere who have been intending to adopt a pet “someday” finally decided that someday has arrived.

Even if you didn’t adopt, I bet your furry friend has been thrilled at having you home 24-7. More than likely, they’ve never before had this kind of quality time with you. However, now that we are gradually starting to open up again, there’s another factor to consider: separation anxiety.

Our pets thrive on consistency and predictability, and a sudden change in those routines can cause stress. There have been a number of articles recently about severe separation anxiety in our pets (see one here) once we return to work.

Even if you aren’t returning to work in the immediate future, there are things you can do now to help your pup deal with this stress when it happens:

  • Stick to your leaving-for-work routine – if you crate your pup when you go to work, continue to do so.
  • Or, give a favorite treat, then go for a walk on your own to simulate leaving.
  • Leave the house – of course, it can’t be for eight hours, but be absent for a little while.
  • Go to the grocery store, take a bike ride; you’ll enjoy the break!
  • Separate yourself – for a few of your working hours, go into an office or bedroom and close the door. They’ll know you’re there, but still have the sense of being home alone.

And, when you do return to your pre-quarantine routine, consider using a professional pet sitting service to help maintain the routines you’ve established. You and your pet will both have peace of mind.