Preventing separation anxiety in pets after the COVID-19 lockdown

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – While most people are looking forward to getting back to the office, pets might have a tough time adjusting.

“Adopting an animal during this time is really great to have that animal-person bond while we have all this craziness that’s going on in the world,” said Amber Pinnon, Winnebago County Animal Services adoption program coordinator.

Many Stateline residents welcomed a new pet to their home during the pandemic when they had more time to train their new family member. The trouble often begins when owners go back to the office.

“It’s going to be an adjustment for animals to go back to that where they are home alone more often,” Pinnon said.

And that leads to separation anxiety for many pets.

“We can see anything from mild distress, some whining that last a few minutes and they settle to dogs that actually break their teeth busting out of crates, eat wall, eat doors, so you really want to set them up for success,” said Amy Kurth, B&B Canine owner and lead trainer.

Kurth suggests slowly introducing your animal to alone-time.

“It’s really important while they are still home now to begin practicing and taking a little bit of time when the dog is physically separated from them and find some time when the dog is visually and physically separated,” Kurth said.

Kurth says it’s important the pet understands your leaving isn’t a punishment. You should give them treats and toys to help.

“You can stuff a kong with yogurt and some of your dogs’ kibble and freeze it so they have to work at it. So it gives them things to do so they are not just sitting at home waiting for you,” Kurth said.

If you do leave your dog at home for several hours during the workday experts suggest hiring a dog walker or taking them to doggy daycare.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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