Medical expert shares advice on easing pets' separation anxiety as families return to work and school
With more people going back to the office there's concern about whether our pets will be affected by our daily departures.
Many people brought new pets in their families during the pandemic and got to spend all that time with them.
Now veterinarians are warning that animals also experience separation anxiety.
"We got Rosie about five days before the world shut down and then we got Alvin in November of 2020," says Jen Saler, of Roslyn. "It's hard because the world is opening back up and I'm going shopping more and meeting friends more."
She says the whole family had been home with their pups for months. But as everyone started going back to work, school and just out and about, she says both puppies started to suffer anxiety and began to act out.
"When we leave them alone, we were leaving them on the first floor of our house and they started to eat the moldings on the corners," Saler says.
"Dogs like people are creatures of routine and their routine has been that everyone's been around," says Dr. Margaret Fordham.
She and other Long Island University veterinary experts today say there are ways to ease their anxiety and keep things like that from happening. She says you should start by leaving your pet home alone for short amounts of time, then lengthen that time period in small increments.
First however, Fordham says it's important for pets to be in a happy state of mind before leaving or giving them something to distract them.
"You can hide toys and balls and things like that, so they're occupied licking peanut butter out of a cone or having one of these toys that drops food or something that says, 'push it' and that way their brain is occupied doing something fun," Fordham recommends.
Pet owners say they're doing what they can, but admit, like most things during this time, it's going to take some getting use to.
Fordham also advises pet owners to take some time to ease their pets into the transition.