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How To Help Your Pandemic Pets With Separation Anxiety

Doogie the dog
(Photo courtesy Villalobos Rescue Center)
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As businesses begin to reopen and workers return to offices, newly adopted pets are facing a struggle: separation anxiety.

During the pandemic, the United States saw a boom in pet adoption as homebound owners went looking for companionship. As humans leave the house more often, their pets may experience confusion.

Jill Goldman, a certified applied animal behaviorist, says the best time to start preparing animals such as dogs for your absence is when you're still at home.

“You don't have to leave for the entire day [but] give the dog an opportunity to get an idea of what it is to be alone in a very short period of time,” she said. "There's no stress involved and it becomes normal.”

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A routine can also help minimize stress for your pets.

Be sure to feed them and let them sleep at regular intervals. "If you're able, give him his meal just before you leave so he has something to do while you're away,” Goldman says.

According to a survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 23 million Americans adopted pets during the COVID-19 pandemic and most of them have no plans to rehome their animal companions.