Coronavirus has been causing disruptions in our routines and in the lives of our dogs and cats. Imagine, if you will, how accustomed your pets got to you being gone during the day. Now you’re home, sheltering in place, and they may be a bit anxious because of it. We understand how important it is to get into a new routine with your dogs.
Some dogs have separation anxiety when left home alone. Other dogs are accustomed to you grabbing your favorite coffee mug and leaving for the day. They get the run of the house, lie on the furniture, bark at the squirrels in the yard and sleep when and where they want to. Now that you’re home, their walks may be more plentiful. They can’t sleep as deeply because you’re home, on the phone or watching the television.
What is a dog to do? Honestly, what is a pet parent to do to help alleviate their pup’s anxiety because of the change in routine?
Get Into A New Routine With Your Dogs
You may be struggling to get into a new routine yourself. Perhaps, you have not given a lot of thought as to how your remote work lifestyle is impacting the cats and dogs with whom you share your life.
- Get up and get dressed. Even if you don’t have to leave the house, your pup is accustomed to you getting up at a specific time, taking him for a walk and feeding him his breakfast. Stick to that routine — for your dog’s sake.
- Take walks. Chances are you have seen the meme with the dog standing on top of the cupboards telling his pet parent, “enough with the walks, already!” Remember, if your dog was a couch potato, you want to ease him into more frequent and longer walks. Start slow and short and build up to longer, faster walks.
- Don’t snack all day. If you’re munching on snacks and not eating regular meals, that doesn’t mean your dog should be snacking. Keep her on her regular feeding schedule. If you’re giving her snacks, feed dog-approved healthy fruits and veggies
- Separation Anxiety. If your dog goes into full panic mode when you pick up your car keys and put on your shoes, time to instill some tools to lessen the anxiety. Before you leave, give your dog a treat, possibly a calming snack. Good exercise for your dog, before you leave the house is key. Thirdly, leave some of your clothes around, so your dog is comforted by your scent.
Bonus routine tips for you and your pup!
- Rest and relax. Your pup may not be accustomed to lounging around on the couch in the middle of the day, but let’s face it — this time home may be a gift to help you to reconnect and bond with your pup. Take advantage of it. Every time we are with our dogs, we remember how brief their time is with us and that makes us want to snuggle with them even more.
- Quiet time. During client calls, Zoom meetings or Hangouts with colleagues, let them know your dog may bark in the middle of the call. People are understanding (as long as your dog isn’t barking the entire time!) If you want a quiet pup during your calls, take him for a walk before the call and then give him a treat or food puzzle to keep him entertained.
Embrace what you cannot change. Many of us are in quarantine and can’t leave the house. Spend time with your dogs. Get into a new routine and enjoy the time together. Remember though, prior to going back to work, work yourselves back into the routine so the transition isn’t too abrupt for your pet.
Robbi Hess, Woman In The Pet Industry Solopreneur Finalist and award-winning author, is multi-petual. When not caring for her pets or taking them on walks, she is a speaker, efficiency and effectiveness guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof/Crimeless Cat.