How to prepare pets for your return to work
An expert's tips for preventing loneliness in pets.
The chance to spend more time with beloved family pets has been one major benefit of being confined to home over the last few months. They have been on the receiving end of more walks, head scratches, treats and tummy rubs than they've previously been used to.
But as restrictions ease and we drift back to workplaces our furry and feathered friends will once again be left home alone. How can we prepare them for a return to the quiet life?
Get out of the house
Clinical animal behaviourist, Elaine Henley, believes we must act immediately in order to prevent pet disorders occurring. Speaking on Mornings she said that she is already seeing an increase in animals with disorders related to separation.
She advised, "Look at the routine that you had before lockdown and try to re-establish that now before you have to leave them alone to go back to work."
Elaine suggested that making small changes now will help when you eventually leave the house for a full day’s work.
For example, she said: “If you’ve got to make a work call [do it in] your car. Sit outside, make that call.
“Go out a little bit more frequently even if it’s just for half an hour.
"It’s about trying to get back to normality and easing all of our pets – our dogs, our cats, our parrots – into what life will be again."
Doing this will be "less stressful over all,".
According to Elaine, certain signs can reveal whether a pet is distressed.
An unhappy cat may be be more aggressive than usual and this behaviour could also include inappropriate urination. An unhappy dog may lose its appetite, whine, and display unusually disruptive behaviour. Meanwhile, parrots will be noisier and may show aggression towards their caregivers.
Stay in touch
Over the last few months we've been used to making video calls for work and keeping in touch with family and friends, but Elaine suggested they can also be useful for keeping tabs on pets.
"It's an easy way of seeing what’s happening when you’re not there," she said.
If it seems that pets are showing signs of distress it may be time to seek help from an animal behaviourist, And, as Elaine noted, it's worth checking details of pet insurance as it may cover fees if help from a professional animal behaviourist is required.