Easing pets into life after lockdown

As lockdown rules start to ease and some of you returning to work, you may be wondering how your pets, particularly dogs, will cope with you not being at home all day, every day. Here we outline some tips to gradually prepare your furry loved ones for the ‘new normal’.

  • Start leaving the house for longer periods of time. Pick up your keys and head out each day to get your dog used to you leaving the house
  • If you normally wear a uniform or office clothes for work, you could start wearing these around the house to help the transition
  • When you return home, try not to make too much fuss, wait until your dog has settled before rewarding them. If the dog barks, remain calm to avoid further anxiety
  • If you haven’t got one already, you could fit a stair gate to separate yourself from your dog for periods of time, whilst your working from home
  • Organise your dog’s day with time apart, activities/play and exercise to start or keep them in a routine similar to one when you do return to work
  • Encourage your dog to go outside in the garden on their own, again, so they can get used to being apart from you
  • If you’ve had a puppy during lockdown, now that the restrictions are easing, you can start introducing them to environments you weren’t previously able to. And of course, being able to socialise them at a distance with friends and family will help.

If you have a cat, their life during lockdown probably hasn’t changed that much – they’re probably still wandering out at night and sleeping on your bed during the day. And whilst cats, by nature, are usually very independent, they can be sensitive to change which can cause stress.

As suggested above with dogs, a gentle transition to post-lock down routines will help. Look for cues that your cat is needing some more attention when you return from prolonged periods away from the house, such as them approaching you with their tale up.

If your pet is showing signs of stress, there are a number of products on the market to help them. A good chew toy for dogs will help keep them distracted and Feliway for cats which can help them adjust to changes.

For more information on pets and Coronavirus, visit the following websites

RSPCA

Cats Protection

Dogs Trust