Preparing pets for owners who no longer work from home

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The pandemic has caused stress and anxiety for many, but many pets have had the opposite experience since their owners were at home all the time.

CHARLOTTE, NC – As many people prepare to return to the office and resume working in person, researchers are encouraging people to make sure pets are well prepared.

The pandemic has caused stress and anxiety for many, but many pets have had the opposite experience since their owners were at home all the time.

“If the animal is a new dog that he had during the pandemic, all he knows is that his owner is at home every day,” said Pablo Cazares, a walker at dogs in Charlotte.

Cazares said that by going to pick up his four-legged clients, they appear to be having issues with their owners’ transition to work.

“When their owners are gone, they look for them like, ‘Where’s my mom, where’s my dad? “Some will sleep right by the front door until someone comes in and they wait for their owner to be there,” Cazares said.

Duke Professor Brian Hare, who studies canine psychology, says pets may have developed separation anxiety, and younger puppies raised during the pandemic tend to struggle with it the most.

“Maybe 18-24 weeks is a critical time for dogs to learn to be alone,” Hare said.

With people staying home and limiting their exposure for over a year, Hare says it’s a lesson they may never have received and don’t always know how to deal with it. .

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“The way they express this anxiety often damages furniture or doors because they are anxious and scratch themselves, chew things, maybe they go to the bathroom, maybe they whine, scream screams,” Hare said.

He said you can help ease the transition to work by slowly increasing the time you spend away from your dog each day, signaling you are leaving by ringing the keys and taking them for long walks before you go. somewhere.

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“When you leave, don’t make it a big ceremony – and when you come back, don’t make it a big ceremony,” Hare said.

Signs of stress for dogs can include licking their lips, yawning when leaving, or whining. Hare says that dog day care centers or dog walkers might help relieve this anxiety while you’re at work.

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