As Albuquerque starts to open back up after the full shutdown from Covid-19 many of us are returning to work instead of being on pause or working from home. This has been a great thing for many of us, both from a financial perspective as well as a mental health perspective. Do you know who this has not been great for? Your pets.
Your pets love it when you are at home. They love you being around. Yes, even your cats. Despite what many cartoons tell us, our pets are not waiting for us to leave so they can have the house to themselves. You are your pets world. If you have more than one pet, so your cat or dog has a buddy, that helps, but they still miss you. As everyone is returning to work and returning to life you may start noticing some behavioral issues with your pets.
Signs of Stress in Your Pet
Here are a few signs of stress in your pet that could indicate they are having a hard time with you being gone.
Chewing things. Chewing things, other than toys, is a sign of anxiety or anger. If you notice your dog has chewed up your shoes or eaten your socks, don’t be mad. They are telling you they are upset.
Barking. Was your dog typically quiet during the day when you were at work but now they are noisy? This is a sign of anxiety.
Barfing. You will see this more with cats than with dogs. Cats, when under stress, will start barfing a lot more.
Pacing. This means walking around, especially back and forth, a lot. This says they are not relaxing.
Depression. Some pets have very visible and obvious signs of depression while others will show signs like lethargy and general disinterest.
Not Eating. Going off their food, or only eating when you are around.
Losing Hair. This is more of an extreme reaction but some animals, when under stress, will lose hair and develop bald spots.
Helping to De-Stress Your Pet
If you notice signs of stress in your pet since you have gone back to work there are a number of things you can do to help them transition back into the old routine.
Lots of Attention. The most important thing to remember is that when you were home your pet was getting a ton of attention and now they aren’t. When you get home, make sure to give your pet lots of love and attention. Take them out on a walk, go play with them, snuggle on the couch, just spend time with them. They have been really missing you all day.
Toys. If your pet is chewing on things, consider getting them some new toys to chew on. Often having an alternative to your shoes will be a satisfactory replacement. We suggest keeping your bedroom or closet doors shut so they can’t get into your laundry and eat your socks.
Rescue Remedy is a great natural supplement that quells anxiety. You can add it to their water and it will help them chill out.
Feeding Routine. If your animal is off their food, try adjusting their feeding routine to get them use to you not being there when they eat. Give them some food while you are in the room and then leave the room. Come back and give them more and then leave for longer. Stretch this out until they are eating all their food by themselves but you are still in the house. Then move to feeding half of their food while you are in the house but not with them and then leave for the second half. In about a week your pet should be back to eating autonomously.
Barfing. If your cat is barfing try feeding them smaller quantities more frequently. This will keep them from scarfing their food down, or having a lot of food in their stomach to barf up. Some cats will eat super fast when stressed and this will help them slow down. You can also get special bowls that help your pet slow down their eating, like puzzle bowls.
Crating. If your dog is pacing or barking a lot, you should look in crate training. Crate training is a great way to deal with some unwanted behavior while providing your pet with a stress free place to be. Once a dog is crate trained being in the crate is their safe space and they go there to get away from stress and anxiety.
If you are worried about your pets stress levels, call your local Albuquerque veterinarian to discuss ways to help your pet with their stress and anxiety.