How the New Lift in Lockdown Rules Could Cause Anxiety for Your Pets
Loosening Lockdown Rules
Following the latest Government announcement signifying
further loosening of lockdown regulations, there are signs that we could be
transitioning into a ‘new normal’ imminently. Whilst this news comes as a great
relief to many of us who have been separated from loved ones for almost three
months, we need to take a moment to consider that this may not be such good
news for our beloved pets. Scamps &
Champs Chichester would like to highlight the main concerns we may
be facing in the up and coming weeks with our anxious pets and how you can
assist a smooth transition for your pets, as you begin to leave your house for
longer periods of time.
Many of us have been completely quarantined at home for
medical reasons, with little or no contact with the outside world for elongated
periods of time. Whatever your circumstances are one thing is certain, you have
probably been at home with your pets a great deal through this unprecedented
Aside from the obvious concerns, your pets have probably
perceived your new extended time at home as a great comfort accompanied with
additional fuss and food! In fact, they probably think they have struck gold
right now by having you and your entire family home 24/7! Furthermore, with
your desperation to get outside and enjoy a burst of fresh air and exercise, it
is very possible that as a dog owner you have been taking your canine companion
for extra walkies
An Alteration in Routine
Without our commute to work, the school run, trips out in
the evenings and at weekends, not only have we significantly shifted our daily
routine but so have our pets. Whereas we would probably leave the house and our
pets at least twice a day and possibly for several hours at a time during busy
periods, we may now only be leaving the house to walk our dogs.
In short, some of our pets may be by our sides throughout the entire day without
us even realising it.
Anxiety in Our Animals
As humans we often become anxious during significant changes
in our lives and it is no different for our pets. In their minds they have
become used to our company, everyone being at home and all of the additional
benefits that come with this. Therefore if we suddenly go back to work and
begin leaving them they could become extremely anxious, upset and even
distressed. So the important question is; how can we avoid this happening?
Champs Chichester are here to help you by providing pet visits where we can
come and check
that your pets are okay, change their water, feed them and let them outside
for some fresh air. We also provide a dog walking service
where we can come and collect your dog and take them for a walk, so if you are
self-isolating or going back to work and unable to walk your dog then we are
here to help. At Scamps & Champs Chichester we are keen to provide you with
accurate, up-to-date advice so this week we spoke to Hannah’s Hounds Dog Training
who provided us with expert tips on how to reduce anxiety in your pets’
behaviour, in the up and coming weeks.
Tips for Reducing Pet Anxiety
- Start Now
– Start leaving your pets for short periods of time now, whilst you are
still self-isolating. Put them into their safe space so they know you are
leaving the house. You could even just go out of the room and upstairs so that
they think you’re going out, then you are still close by to help if they become
distressed. When you do eventually start going out you can do this in small
steps too, by heading out the front door and sitting in the car or walking down
your drive to be close by.
- Build It
Up – If your pet is really struggling with separation anxiety then just
start small by just walking out of a gate or the front door and coming back
inside.You can then build on this
gradually by leaving the room for two minutes, then next time five minutes and
build up to the time you would usually be out for. Start by just leaving the
room and pretending to go out, until you are certain that your pets are settled
and content with you going out of the house properly. If your pet gets overly
distressed, you may need to contact a professional dog behaviourist for help.
Space and Triggers – Always leave your pets in their safe space. Be
consistent with where you leave them, when you leave them and the signs you
provide to your pets as you leave. Perhaps you give the same cue, say the same
words or turn on the same radio station as you leave. Keep the message
consistent so that they recognise the signs that you are leaving the house and
they know what is about to happen, this will help reduce anxiety.
Toys & Time – Throughout the day when you are home, keep your pets
engaged and active at several points during the day. Have activities planned
such as a Kong toy or lick mat, where they have to work for their food and
treats. Keep their minds and bodies engaged and active throughout points during
your day, so that when you do leave they are ready to slow down and have a
break whilst you are out.
– Keep your pets well exercised with plenty of fresh air where possible, so
that when you do leave the house they are tired and happy to have some down
time in their safe space. When you do leave you could also use a chew toy or
treat to keep them occupied whilst you leave them for their settle period of
rest. This will help reduce anxiety and keep them calm.
Puppies – If you have bought home a new puppy during lockdown then it is
very possible that they have never been left. Make sure you are incorporating
all of the above advice within your professional puppy training even before
lockdown ends. Start now, leaving your puppy is often an aspect of training
that gets forgotten. If you are unsure about this then contact a professional
If you are at all worried about leaving your pets whilst you return to work Scamps and Champs Chichester can come and check on your pets whilst you are out for additional piece of mind. If you have purchased a ‘lockdown puppy’ whilst you have been off work and home all of the time, you may also like to consider our Puppy Sitting Service. If you have any questions or queries don’t hesitate to contact Scamps & Champs Chichester for further support and advice by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling our Branch Manager Sarah Young on 07931 526514 or contacting us via our Facebook Page.