After spending so much time at home due to the COVID-19 situation, a lot of us are either too comfortable with the new normal or can't wait to get back to our busy lifestyles. While we still have an opinion here, our dog at home has just been so grateful about having us around at all times. After years, they have experienced their working parents spend so much time playing, training, grooming, cuddling or doing absolutely nothing, but together.
Leaving your pet home alone is a lot more upsetting for them than it must be for you. You may have a busy day to look forward to, but your pet will be at home, alone. Dogs being highly social can respond to this in various ways. Similarly, even though cats may spend most of their time sleeping, but they do experience separation anxiety and miss having their hoomans around.
What can you do to make them adapt to leaving your pet home alone while at work?
Slow and gradual change:
Just like the initial days of a parent with a baby when they drop them at the daycare, they play around with them for a while every day for a few weeks before their baby can be left there. Similarly, go very slow with leaving your dog alone at home. Start by distracting them and disappear for a few mins by going into another room in your house and gradually increase the time for which you'll be gone. This helps them adapt to it and not make the change seem sudden for them.
Similarly, for your kitty, start by leaving them alone for a few hours, a few days of the week and then gradually adapt to leaving them for extended periods of time everyday.
A familiar space:
Leave your dog or cat in a room or an area of the house that they are familiar with. Don't leave them in an unknown space as it may make them feel unsafe and aloof. Have their toys and treats around which may help distract them and keep them engaged. And don’t forget to keep a bowl of water available for them at all times, and needless to say, keeping a check on their eating schedule.
Exercise and entertainment:
If you have got them used to regular walks or playing with them yourself, it's time to engage their brain and keep them occupied with something they'll enjoy. Keep their toys around, teach them new tricks, hire a dog walker for regular walks to new routes as they'll analyse those places and be busy or the least is take them for a walk or drive once or twice a week to an unfamiliar place.
For cats, incorporate puzzle feeders while you’re away, so they’ll become very special treats for your cat during your absence.
Notice their behaviour - But don't punish
When you leave dog home alone, they may cause furniture destruction but don't punish them when you come back to a doggo who was home alone. They may follow you around the house or be clingy which might be due to separation anxiety. While a kitty may react with inappropriate urination or defecation, vomiting, excessive grooming, poor appetite or even furniture destruction. This means you may have to work a little more to help them. On your end if nothing works out, it's best to consult a vet regarding their behaviour and get on board with what they suggest.
Even though these may be the most common problems faced by pet-parents, your pet may have other issues and it's best to get the opinion of an expert if they persist.