Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Canadian Dog Owners Say Their Pet Has Been Their Best Friend

ROYAL CANIN®, a global leader in tailor-made health and nutrition products for dogs and cats, today released a study revealing what Canadian pet owners think about returning to the office. Given that 64 percent say their pet provided them with emotional support during the pandemic, and 66 percent of Canadian dog owners describe their puppy as their best friend, it’s no surprise that nearly one thirds (29 percent) of Canadian pet owners say they would be more willing to return to the office if their pet could join them.

However, as many organizations begin to implement hybrid models, returning to work is not a black and white affair. With the future of work comes new routines, and establishing a routine is the key to success when it comes to reducing anxiety for both pet and owner.

“For many pets, especially those adopted during the pandemic, always being with their owner is all they know. As we begin to return to the office in the coming months and explore the idea of ​​a hybrid working model, we must actively create the conditions under which our pets will continue to thrive, ”says Arnaud Christ, Director of Scientific and Corporate Affairs at Royal Canin Canada. “At Royal Canin, we believe that pets make the world a better place and it is our responsibility to make the world a better place for pets. With a few guiding principles, we can help ease their transition so that they positively embrace another new normal. ”

Over the past year, the number of ‘pandemic’ pet owners has skyrocketed with nearly 3 in 10 Canadian pet owners adopting a new pet, and 70% of among them say that their pet helps relieve stress and worry. As any pet owner knows, there are many factors that can disrupt a pet’s routine, such as setting the clock back for daylight saving time, a move, or even a visit away from home. With a focus on supporting and educating Canadians as they cope with the increased separation anxiety that returning to work can bring for employees and pets, Royal Canin aims to provide pet owners with advice on how best to get through the power of the routine.

Support for pets goes far beyond COVID-19, with many pet owners saying their pets help them manage stress at work or school. Not only does leaving pets at home mean no longer having them in the same physical space together, but 48% say they’re more able to deal with their stress levels by working or studying with their pet near them. As more companies begin to welcome their employees back to the physical workplace, pet owners are understandably concerned about how their new work routine will affect their mental health as well as well-being. of their furry friends.

While a change in routine can be difficult for pets and pet owners, making sure pets are comfortable on their own before the owner leaves for the office is a part of the story. essential to establishing a healthy routine. Canadian veterinarian and specialist in animal behavior, Dr. Colleen Wilson, a graduate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, shares tips and tricks to help pet owners transition their pets.

“When owners teach their animal a positive association with their departure, it is the start of a positive emotionally association with their absence. Like people, pets love routine departures and they communicate to the animal.” when my owner leaves, that’s okay. ”We want our pets to know that they can cope with the owner’s absence and that starting this new association slowly creates a solid foundation for success,” explains the doctor. Colleen Wilson, Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

How to best establish a successful return-to-work transition for your pet:

Before returning to work, check to see if your pet has separation anxiety, and if so, to what degree. If an owner determines their pet is anxious when alone, they can establish a routine and use the following strategies to help reduce departure anxiety. This contributes to a positive transition to the office, whether to a hybrid or full-time model..

Tip 1: To confirm if your pet is suffering from separation anxiety, audio or video record them when they are home alone. This configuration can be placed anywhere the owner can hear and / or see their pet.

Tip 2: If you’ve noticed typical anxiety-related behaviors such as excessive salivation, vocalization, destructive behaviors, and / or elimination only when you’re alone, it’s time to help your pet feel better by starting. a “training for independence”. Start by figuring out which treat or food puzzle toy causes the animal to focus its attention on it for about 15-20 minutes.

Tip 3: Once established, the owner can begin to move around the room, watching the animal to continue to focus on the treat / food. Gradually, progressing slowly, the owner can leave the room for a few seconds to a few minutes, the time that the animal feels good, focused on his toy / treat.

Tip 4: During this initial conditioning to “feel good” in the absence of the owner, an owner always comes back to the animal while they are focusing on the food / treat. Because the animal experiences a positive emotional state in the absence of the owner, it can communicate, “Don’t worry, I’m coming back” and makes the comings and goings uneventful. This contributes to a healthy transition to a return-to-work schedule, either full-time or part-time, as the leaving routine always sends this same message.

Tip 5: Attempts to teach independence at a faster pace (for example, walking to the nearby mailbox or doing a brisk run), without ensuring that the animal is relaxed and feels good in it. ‘absence of the owner, can lead to “awareness”. This means that the animal is easily triggered to feel anxious whenever the owner leaves. If attempts at independence training fail, it’s time to see your vet or veterinary behaviorist to discuss other treatment options.

SOURCE Royal Canin

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