Helping Pets Adjust to Life After Lockdown
Considering all the animals that were adopted or fostered prior to lockdowns, their sheer numbers are overwhelming. With so many people forced to stay at home, the calming warmth and reassurance of millions of new pets made all the difference.
Helping pets adjust to their new homes has never been easier, but what happens when we all return to work or school?
With everyone at home, the animals in our care have probably never been happier. There’s always something going on (even if it’s just another nap on the couch), and in households with kids, playful activities abound. Helping new pets adjust to a lively household may go easier than imagined.
So Much Attention
While there might be some cats out there that are getting a little exasperated by their owner’s neverending presence in the house, it’s not uncommon for dogs to react aggressively, too.
Most pets, however, are lapping up all the extra attention. All that love and affection goes a long way in an animal whose every need is also being met, especially if they just came out of a shelter.
It’s normal for pets to assume that this new paradigm is simply how life is now. Whether you’ve lived with your pet for a while or they were brought home prior to lockdown status, it may be a good idea to teach them alternatives to being next to you every waking hour (and let’s face it, sleeping hours, too).
If/when life goes back to a certain level of normalcy, helping pets adjust to their new schedule will be crucial to their wellbeing. Social animals thrive when they are with their “pack” and fear being left alone.
Not unlike noise aversion, pet separation anxiety can be quite debilitating. Some animals will respond with destructive behaviors, others will have accidents in the house. Give your pet plenty of opportunities to build their skills by leaving them for 20-30 minutes once a day. If they simply react by looking out the window or taking a nap, they may be fine with longer stretches alone.
- It’s important not to spring the concept of “me time” on them without any practice or preparation.
- When you leave and return, stay as neutral as possible. Making a big deal about leaving them and coming home will confuse them and reinforce any doubt or fear.
- Give them lots of exercise opportunities before departing and arriving at home.
- Provide safe, interactive toys to occupy them while you’re away.
Helping Pets Adjust
One of the best things you can do for your pet is adhere to a strict daily schedule. They depend on things happening at certain intervals and their ability to remain calm hinges on meeting their expectations. Keep in mind that when social distancing eases, your newly adopted pet will need to learn the in’s and out’s of socialization with other people and pets.