How to Manage Your Pet’s Separation Anxiety After Returning to Work

Many of us have enjoyed more quality time with our pets having been forced to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that lock downs are being lifted and the country is “reopening,” millions of Americans are going back to work and leaving their four-legged co-workers at home. Since cats and dogs are creatures of habit, this routine change can lead to feelings of stress and separation anxiety. Although, let’s be honest: some cats believe absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Going back to work means adjusting to a “new normal” of masks, social distancing and temperature checks. We’re not only going to miss frequent snuggle breaks, but it’s going to take a while for us to feel comfortable in a new work environment. If you’ve recently adopted a pet, they must think they’re in heaven since their favorite hooman is home all day, every day. That’s why returning to work may be even harder on recently adopted cats and dogs.

In this adjustment period, you don’t want to worry about your pets or come home to torn up couch cushions and urine on the carpet. But, you can make the transition back to work easier for you and your pets by keeping an eye out for the signs of separation anxiety, such as:

  • Destructive or aggressive behavior
  • Frequent barking or howling
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Excessive panting, pacing and salivation
  • Trying to escape a room or crate

Now, there’s no reason to panic if you find that your pet is suffering from separation anxiety after your return to work. Here are steps that you can take to help your pet adjust to back-to-work changes and make life easier for both of you.

1. Get Exercise

Make sure that your pet gets plenty of exercise before you head out for the day. A strenuous walk or game of fetch can go a long way toward reducing your dog’s separation anxiety. When your pup is feeling sleepy, they’re much less likely to act destructively or bark like mad once you’ve said your goodbyes.

2. Keep Them Busy

Keeping your pet occupied with a favorite toy or treat can distract them for your imminent departure. A fresh bone or occupier toy filled with peanut butter will help your pup put their energy into something else while you tip-toe out the door. It’s also a great way to keep your pet in their crate without any complaints.

3. Establish a Routine

Setting a morning routine can make going back to work much less stressful for your pets. If you walk your dog first thing every morning, then continue to do so after your return to work. By following a routine each morning, you’ll help your pet adjust to these changes and give them an idea of what to expect every day. An inconsistent schedule can make your pet feel anxious or stressed and lead to whining, barking and other unwanted behaviors. You’ll also want to keep your exit low key to avoid getting your pet riled up just before you walk out of the door.

4. Practice Leaving and Coming Back

If you have a later return to work date, it may be a good opportunity to prepare your pets for your future absence. You can ease your four-legged friend into a new routine by leaving and coming back after a short period of time. This will reassure your pets that you will, in fact, come back and it won’t seem out of the ordinary when you leave for work in the morning.

5. Try Calming Supplements

Getting back into the swing of things is stressful enough. You certainly don’t want to worry about how your fur child is faring at home. Fortunately, Composure ™ calming supplements can help your pet relax and soothe their separation anxiety. Just give them a delicious Composure™ chew 30 minutes before leaving so you can enjoy peace of mind throughout the day.

Follow these simple tips to help take the stress out of going back to work for you and your pet. If you have more serious concerns, we recommend talking to your veterinarian about your pet’s behavior. As for those sad puppy eyes, well, there’s nothing we can do about your separation anxiety!