The COVID-19 pandemic has been undeniably awful in so many ways. Its devastating effects will be felt for years and possibly even decades to come. However, if there is a sliver of a bright spot to it, that has to be the fact that many of us have been able to stay home longer.
For pet parents, working from home means being able to spend more quality time with their furry companions. Whenever you’re on a break, you can use that time to play with your pet cat or dog. It’s tough to come up with a better way to liven up your working hours.
Things are about to change sometime soon though. More than 25 percent of the people in Washington State are now vaccinated. It won’t be long now before you may have to say goodbye to your working from home setup. That kind of drastic change can be tough for your pet. It can result in them developing something known as separation anxiety.
What Is Separation Anxiety?
There’s a good chance you’ve experienced separation anxiety at some point in your life. Maybe it was due to your parent having to go on a long business trip or your best friend heading out of state for summer vacation.
No matter what the reason was, being away from the people you care about the most was likely very difficult. Even now, being separated from them continues to place a strain on us. You should know that your pets go through the same thing.
According to VCA Hospitals, pets are also known to experience separation anxiety or distress. They feel anxious whenever they have to spend time apart from us. In extreme cases, pets may even be overcome by a strong sense of panic if they are separated from their owners for an extended period of time.
As their caretakers, we know that our pets can express and experience all kinds of emotions. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that they can experience something like separation distress as well.
The Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Pets
How can you tell if your pet cat or dog is currently experiencing separation anxiety? There are actually some pretty clear symptoms to watch out for. Let’s get into what those symptoms are below.
Leaving Their Waste All over Your Home
If your cat or dog is urinating and/or defecating all around your home, take that as a sign that they’re feeling anxious. They may not care as much about your house rules if you aren’t around.
Note that this kind of disobedient behavior can manifest itself even if your pet has been trained already. Anxiety can cause them to ignore all that training and revert back to their old habits.
Exhibiting Destructive Behavior
Waste spread throughout your home is not the only thing you have to worry about. Cats and dogs also tend to become more destructive when they’re stressed out.
Both cats and dogs may start to scratch at walls and doors to help calm themselves down. Cats may start to scratch at your furniture too. Meanwhile, dogs may start to chew on any shoes or socks they find.
By the time you get home to your anxious pet, you may be greeted by a big mess as well.
Anxiety can also be a trigger for heightened aggression in pets. Your previously docile pet may start to become more aggressive when you try to approach them. They may be especially aggressive towards any visitors you have.
Seeing this kind of change in your pet can be jarring, but don’t forget that the anxiety is what’s causing it.
Other Behavioral Changes
You may notice other behavioral changes in your pet that are brought about by separation anxiety.
For instance, they may become less receptive to treats and/or become more standoffish. They may also start sleeping at odd times relative to their old schedule. There are numerous other behavioral changes that may be caused by separation anxiety.
Understanding separation anxiety is a must if you want to help your pets adjust to your changing schedule. Hopefully, learning more about the symptoms of separation distress can help you recognize it better. Read the article we wrote at the beginning of the pandemic for more information and come back to read additional articles where we discuss how you can help your pets deal with that problem.
Separation anxiety can weigh heavily on your pets. Ease their burden by relying on our dog walkers and sitters here at TAILored Pet Services. You can learn more about our services by browsing our website or by calling 425-923-7791.