How your pet will cope with you going back to work

A guide to separation anxiety in animals.

Queenslanders are urged to think about their pets as lockdown restrictions ease and many transition from working from home back to the office.

To best help your animals cope with separation anxiety as you head back to work follow these tips from the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ).

Keep a regular routine

Like us, animals can find unpredictability and dramatic changes to routines stressful. By maintaining a regular schedule, you can help reduce your pets stress levels. 

A guide to separation anxiety in animals.

Provide them alone time

Start with short timeframes and gradually increase how long you are separated. This is particularly important if you have a foster or recently adopted animal which may not have been left home alone before. 

A guide to separation anxiety in animals.

Help them settle at home alone

When leaving your pets alone, provide them with something fun to do and build a positive association with being on their own. Fun activities include hiding treats for them to find, using a puzzle feeder, or a Kong stuffed with treats.

A guide to separation anxiety in animals.

Troubleshooting 

Cats are particularly sensitive to changes in routine. Signs of anxiety can include changes in appetite, scratching or spraying. In dogs, common symptoms of separation anxiety include excessive barking, destructive behaviour or excessive panting.

A guide to separation anxiety in animals.

The AWLQ advises that if you are concerned about your pet’s health to consult your veterinarian for more advice.

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The push for owners to keep control of their pet’s separation anxiety comes from the State Government after many Queensland regions reduced the number of dog barking noise complaints.

In Brisbane, 558 noise complaints relating to barking dogs were made in June 2020, compared to 911 in June last year. Complaints in the region have been on a downward trend and have not exceeded 600 cases since January 2020, whereas more than 1000 complaints were recorded in April 2019.

“One thing that many people have actually enjoyed during these difficult months has been spending more time at home with their pets,” Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said. 

“But after months of constant company in the house, it can be confusing for animals if their owner’s routine quickly changes.

“Dogs, in particular, crave human company, so owners who will be spending more time back in the office will need to condition their pet into feeling positive about time alone.

“The simplest approach is to give your dog time out for brief periods. Leave them alone for a few minutes, five minutes, 10, then 20, then 30 and so on, so they’re not left feeling isolated for long periods.”

Concerned about your pet’s health? Contact RACQ Pet Insurance.