COVID-19 has and will continue to impact our lives and that of our pets going forward, you may have already noticed that your dog is a little worried when they are left alone for a short period of time? If you are please feel free to get in touch to discuss a consult to help prevent the problem getting worse and ensure your dog is happy at home.
Are you worried about going back to work and leaving your dog at home alone?
Dogs can suffer from loneliness just like us humans do, they need attention, love and companionship to live a happy healthy life. Routine changes may make your dog a little uneasy, and the recent pandemic may have meant that your dog has had you at home with them more than they were used to. Here are some hints and tips on how to keep your dog happy and healthy when you return to work
Create a safe haven:
This is a place that your dog sees as their safety net, you can help make a space for them where they can relax and feel comfortable:
Music: Some dogs may feel less alone if you pop the radio on for them, a little bit of background noise can provide them some company. Classical music has been proven to lower dogs’ stress levels.
Heat: Some dogs like a warm place to rest near- you can use a microwave heat pad or cushions to create this – it can be a great tool for young puppies or older dogs on those colder days.
Den/bed: Pick a place where your dog spends most of their time and make the den in that space, you could choose to use a crate or just a bed here. Either way make sure it’s soft and super comfortable
Pheromone: Pheromone diffusers can be great to help to keep your pet calm, they are scientifically proven to lower stress levels alongside a behavioural modification program.
Other supplements: There are a variety of other calming supplements; these should be given with guidance from a behaviour expert and alongside a behavioural modification program.
Treats and Toys: Leave your dog with all their favorite toys, you could also try some enrichment based food stuffed toys like a Kong- these will help keep them busy when you are out.
We can also further help them create a positive association by scattering treats in the area a few times a day.
Exercise and Enrichment: Set your dog up for success, they will naturally be more tired and sleep more if they have enough exercise and stimulation before they are left, so make sure they have a good walk and some playtime.
A happy dog when you leave: You want your dog to be not worried when you leave – don’t make a big fuss, and make sure they are occupied with something tasty before you do, If you are unable to leave without them crying or following you then you need to consult a qualified behaviourist to deal with this behaviour issue.
Behaviour problems are complicated and best treated as soon as possible the longer the behaviour goes on for the harder it may be to change.
Heather Thomas CCAB MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour