How can you help your pets by easing them out of lockdown? It might seem strange for your pets now that lockdown is easing and you and the family have to go back to work and the kids are back at school. After spending months of time with you they may not be as ready as you are to return back to a normal of staying at home on their own, with friends or their usual dog sitters. Separation Anxiety According to the RSPCA, 8 out of 10 dogs don’t cope when they are left alone. Separation anxiety can be tough for our pets and they struggle when separated from their owner. Some signs may be obvious such as destructive or repetitive behaviour and going to the toilet inside. But there may be other signs that go undetected when you’re not around such as pacing, barking and whining. Your pets have become used to having you around all day every day for the last few months. So, it might seem odd for them when you’re suddenly not around. They are used to having your attention, time and cuddles, which could have an adverse effect on your cats and dogs. For some pets the transition will be easy, but for others they may suffer with separation anxiety. It helps to try and notice the sudden changes in behaviour to help them through this period. Here’s what a dog may think according to the RSPCA… “I used to chew the sofa when left at home, but now I chew my new special toy.” We have put together some useful tips to help you and your pets through the transition and back into a new normal. Practice short bursts of separation. Leave the house for longer periods of time and head out each day to get your dog used to you leaving the house. When you’re working at home try and have a few hours where you’re not with your dog in the house, to help them adjust to periods of time without you. Monitor their progress over a few weeks and adjust if you need to. You can organise your dog’s day with time apart, activities/play and exercise to start or keep them in a routine. Don’t make a fuss. When you return home, try not to make too much fuss, wait until your dog has settled before rewarding them. If you have a garden you can let your dog go outside and play with their toys on their own to again get them used to playing on their own and being apart from you Provide entertainment. For your dog there are a number of different products you can buy to help them during this transitional period. For example, a new toy can help to take their mind off you not being there for a certain length of time. For your cat. Life during lockdown may not have changed that much, as they are still wandering out at night and sleeping on your bed during the day. Cats are usually very independent animals, but they can also be sensitive to change, so just keep this in mind. Look for common themes where your cat is needing more attention than normal, like showing signs of stress when you get home. If you have a puppy. They will only know the lockdown situation, so they are used to having you there 24/7. You can take your puppy out and reintroduce some of the more normal activities, get them used to staying at a doggy day care and meeting other people that will be looking after them. Be patient. Easing your dog or cat out of lockdown will take time, so be patient and keep practising the above each week. We understand it can be difficult but reacting negatively to them will not encourage progression and will provide them with more anxiety. Be a responsible pet parent. You have always looked after your pets and will continue to do so after lockdown. Take your dog for a walk, encourage playtime at routine times and interact with other dogs as lockdown eases. Hot weather in the summer. Now that the warmer weather is with us it can be difficult for humans as well as cats and dogs to stay cool in the heat. If you are planning on leaving your pets at home for even a small period of time, always make sure they have plenty of water as this will stop dehydration. You can also stop them from overheating by ensuring there are adequate places in your home for them to stay cool. For example, we would never leave pets in a conservatory or hot car as this could cause them to become ill or could even prove to be fatal. We hope the above tips have helped to ease your pet out of lockdown. If you have any other ideas please do let us know as we would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Is pet insurance worth it? You always want to make sure your cat or dog has the best possible care should the unforeseen happen and they become ill or get injured. Compare our pet insurance and get a quote to make sure your pet is covered.