Helping pets cope with separation anxiety when you return to work

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — While the stay-at-home order might have been good news for our pets, animal experts say your dog could suffer some serious setbacks as more people go back to work.

Connor long is a local animal behaviorist and says it’s not uncommon for dogs to experience separation anxiety.

“They create very close bonds to people; the more time you spend with them, the more bonded they become with you,” said Long. “If they’ve gotten into a routine, where they get to spend all day with you and then overnight, that routine changes that can cause a lot of problems.”

He warns that dog owners may begin to see their furry friends act out as they start to leave their homes more.

“Pets, a lot of times suffering from separation anxiety can get destructive whether it’s chewing on furniture, blinds, or anything they can get ahold of,” said Long.

Julie Johnson, with the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center, says the best way to combat this is to have a plan in place before going back to the office full time.

“You can start by taking short trips away from your pet, for like an hour to a store or something like that, to kind of build up their tolerance as you go back to work,” said Johnson.

Dr. Corey Gonzales, a licensed clinical psychologist, says these new measures can help your dog break the new routine they’ve formed without feeling abandoned.

“You reassure the dog that they’re safe, that separating is not a dangerous thing,” said Dr. Gonzales. “When you come home, you want to reward them, so they know that the separation wasn’t bad.”

Pet owners can also turn to technology for help. In-home camera systems like Furbo are relatively inexpensive and allow you to interact with your pets remotely. Some systems even allow owners to give their pets treats by just tapping a button on the screen.

“I can get on my phone and check-in at any time,” said Long.

Other home remedies include playing music for your pet, leaving the TV on, using a dog walking service, or crate training.

If your dog’s separation-anxiety issues persist, Long suggests speaking to your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist.

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