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Back to work? Our pets might be feeling anxious, here’s how to make the transition easier

Click to play video: 'Back to work? Our pets might be feeling anxious about the change' Back to work? Our pets might be feeling anxious about the change
More people are headed back to school and work, but we may not be the only ones have have to adjust to the change. Our pets might be feeling anxious about the schedule shift. Caley Bedore has more on making that transition easier. – Sep 11, 2020

More people are headed back to work and school, but we may not be the only ones that have to readjust. Our pets may also be feeling anxious about the change.

Ineke Turner, the founder of Turner & Pooch Dog Training in Peterborough, Ont., said that the way we react to the shift in our schedules affects our four-legged friends.

“The biggest mistake people make is making a big deal about hellos and goodbyes,” Turner said. “When we go, ‘Hi Fluffly, I’m home!’ it makes our pets even more excited than they already are and that can lead to nipping and jumping.”

Instead, she said to ignore the pet when we come into the house, set down our bags if we have any, and wait for the situation to settle down before we say hello.

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Turner said if we are feeling guilty about leaving the house, our pets will pick up on that change in emotion and it can make them feel anxious.

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“A lot of it is in our heads,” Turner said. “Our pets will adjust much quicker if we don’t feel guilty.”

She said crate training can also be helpful. “Make it a safe space,” Turner said. “If you know you are headed back to school or work in a couple of weeks, ease your dog back into staying at the house for longer periods of time.”

If the dog is still feeling anxious, Turner said it may have separation anxiety and a vet may be able to prescribe medication to help with the transition.

READ MORE: ‘Jumping through hoops’ to adopt during the pandemic shows commitment to pets

Meanwhile, officials at the Peterborough Humane Society said that while they are concerned pets may end up back at the shelter as more people head back to work, they are actually noticing a different trend.

“One of the things we have seen become more prevalent is the solitude and the family bonding that you get from a pet,” said Shawn Morey, Executive Director for the Peterborough Humane Society. “The pet isn’t just on the side. They are part of the family and that animal-human bond is something that has been at the forefront because of the pandemic.”

He said the society has had a successful season for adoptions and thinks the pandemic has played a role.

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He said if you are looking to adopt, make sure that you find the right fit and that you will still have the time and energy for a pet if your schedule does change.

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