Over the course of the long lockdown and the boom of working from home, our pets have developed very different expectations of us – and some of us have bought or adopted pets for the first time. Their feeding times might have got later in the day, walkies might come as a midmorning treat rather than a crack of dawn obligation, and above all else, they’ve become used to having you around at their beck and call all day long. For many of these pets, the return to the workplace will come as a shock!
Today we’re taking a look at how you can prepare your pet for the changes that are coming, to minimise the disruption, stress and distress you both feel.
It’s important to note that if you’re concerned about your pet’s mental or physical health as a result of your changing situation, you should seek out expert help. Whether you make an appointment with your bricks and mortar vet’s practice or opt for online vet advice, you shouldn’t risk your pet’s health.
It’s worth doing a search for “24 hour vet near me” and keeping the contact details safe so you know where to go to get advice and help outside your vet’s usual hours.
Just because your return to the office will be sudden, it doesn’t mean your pet has to experience the changes to their routine as a shock. Work out what your new routine might be when commuting becomes part of your life again, and then work back towards it gradually. Altering your cat’s feeding time or when you take your dog for a walk by ten or fifteen minutes at a time over a few weeks will help them adjust and minimise stress. Interfering with meal times can even cause upset stomachs, so it’s well worth putting in the time to give your cat or dog a chance to get used to the new normal.
Dealing With Absence
Many cats and even a large proportion of mature dogs can be left happily alone for extended periods as long as they are properly prepared for it and know you’ll be coming back. Kittens and puppies simply cannot be left alone safely and some dogs, as highly social creatures, will simply never adjust to being left alone for long periods, so you’ll need to make alternative arrangements in these circumstances.
For the majority of cats and dogs, however, you simply need to build up their resilience to being left alone with training. Dogs can work up from the ‘stay’ command to being left in one room for short periods to eventually being left alone in the house for multiple hours. Cats training is less formal, but you’ll need to try leaving them alone for longer and longer periods so they learn you’ll always come back for them!