Some pets are experiencing anxiety as owners return to work

Posted at 5:01 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 08:15:42-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The pandemic has been a challenge for many, including pets.

Lockdown forced many employees to work from home, meaning more time with their four-legged friends. However, as the workforce transitions back into the office, dogs and cats are experiencing their own mental health challenges.

TheAmerican Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is encouraging pet owners to take steps to ensure the transition is smooth and stress-free for their pets.

"Dogs are used to before COVID being home by themselves or with another dog and then for two years the owners stayed home, and the dog got used to that," said dog owner, Robert Chatham. "Now people are going back to work, and the dogs are wondering why mom and dad aren’t here all day with me."

COVID-19 introduced a lot of people to the working from home life, which has been a benefit for many dogs and cats since it means more attention for them.

However, as the workforce heads back into the office, veterinarians said they've been receiving calls on separation anxiety.

The call volume is higher among animals who were adopted during quarantine and have no familiarity with their families' pre-COVID life.

Veterinarians said to look for signs the dog or cat isn't coping well with the change in their day.

"When they leave them home and their pet has anxiety then either they will go to the window and keep barking, or they’ll make a mess in the house and tear up the pillows and sofa and everything," said Dr. F.K. Pandya at Caudel Veterinary Clinic.

Dr. Pandya said some medications can work but there has to also be a change in pet behavior.

"The behavior changes are also very important to control the anxiety. We tell them that when you are ready to leave the home make sure the pet does not know you left, you sneak out," Pandya said.

He suggested giving the pet a treat in a different room before heading out.

Also, remain as calm as possible when leaving and returning home.

"When you come back, when they come running to you, do not pay attention for at least 30 minutes," Dr. Pandya said.

If you have concerns about your pet's behavior, stress, and well-being, it may require a consultation with a veterinary behaviorist or medical intervention.