When COVID-19 took hold of the world and countries started locking down, we all started spending a whole bunch more time at home. In fact, some of us barely left the house for months. Whether it was because some of us were now working from home or, even worse, if you were furloughed or lost your job altogether, we learned more about where we lived than ever before.
For those of us with pets, while they were accustomed to us leaving them, they are now used to us spending most of our time at home and giving them way more attention than they used to get. This is even more so for those who decided to bring a pet into the house because they needed a companion while being stuck at home. For many, the company of a pet or pets made lockdown bearable.
Imagine being a pet during the pandemic. The single person or people who are the center of your life, the one who feeds you, takes you outside and gives you unlimited pets and belly-rubs, is now staying with you 24/7 instead of leaving you every day and occasionally for days or weeks at a time. What more could you ever hope for? And instead of a day or a week, they’re staying home almost all the time for a month or even months. This is more important for dogs than cats or other pets but they’re all going to miss us when we start to travel again.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that dogs, in particular, will suffer from separation anxiety when we start traveling again. If you’ve never had to leave a dog before, here are some of the symptoms of being separated from the person they look to for their lives.
- Vocalization such as howling or barking
- Destructive behavior such as scratching walls and doors, or chewing furniture and other items
- Going to the toilet indoors
- Hyper salivating or panting
- Increased heart and respiration rate
If your dog isn’t used to you leaving the house (ever), there are some things you need to do before leaving them for long trips. Remember, dogs adapt to their environment. They have dealt with being left by the leader as long as they know we will eventually come home.
There are always going to be situations where you need to leave your dog at home on their own. So, the real trick is starting early and getting your dog (or puppy) used to being left from the moment you bring them home. This way when you do need to leave the house it becomes normal and know you’ll return. To begin, try leaving your dog in a different room, if only for a few minutes.
For us, we started back with day trips. Then we spent a long weekend away from home and left our dog at “camp.” For our longest post-COVID trip, we arranged for a petsitter we know and trust to stay at our house. We’ve done the same for our next upcoming trip.
All that I ask is that you give some thought to how your best buddy during COVID-19 will deal with you getting back to your life.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary