Humans aren’t the only creatures that have emotional issues such as depression or separation anxiety, pets can have them too. According to the Veterinary Medicine Center of Illinois, 20-40% of dogs have separation anxiety, which now during quarantine may have worsened. Now that their owners have been home for around a year now, dogs are much needier than before.
As more and more people were forced to stay at home alone, or rather with the same people, many families decided to foster and/or adopt pets. According to the ASPCA and the Best Friends Animal Society, 50-70% of animals in shelters were placed into new homes this past year.
A survey toward the end of 2020 by the Waltham Foundation discovered that 86% of those taking part in the survey felt more connected to their pets since lockdown had started, 60% felt that their pets had helped them keep a regular routine, and 43% stated that their pets had helped with keeping anxiety low. As for people who worked from home, 58% noted that their pet had aided in their motivation for being productive.
While the surge of new pets can be significantly positive, it can also be daunting. Sophomore Sofia Sandoval’s three-year-old German Shepherd, Buddy, interrupts her frequently. “[Buddy] is an outside dog, however, when I am home alone he does stay in my room with me during class,” she said. Once this happens, she described Buddy as being “a bit crazy” as he tries to get her attention, though he gets bored quickly and dozes off anyway.
Students and teachers alike have to deal with rambunctious little (and sometimes big) fur balls. Science teacher Mr. Boian said his dogs mainly bark whenever someone comes to [his] front door. “Usually this happens once or twice a day,” he said, “but it definitely has happened during class before which can take a couple of minutes to get back into the groove of the class.”
However many troubles pets may present, someone somewhere will always have a tip or trick. Science teacher Mr. Boian takes his dogs on a quick walk before his class in order to tire them out
Alternatively, if you’re unavailable for a walk, The New York Times recommends giving pets new toys to keep distracted or toys/food dispensers that challenge them to get food or treats out.
Along with their owners, dogs have also experienced disruption in their routines. According to Vox, “vets are recommending that pet owners try to maintain consistent feeding times to give pets as much structure as possible.”
Returning back to school or work with a well-trained dog is simple, however, if a canine likes to leave the cushions torn to shreds, a way to ease the transition back to normal working life is recommended.
Toys are a great way for pets to expel some excess energy and get excited about something other than the couch. Chew toys with treats inside, like the Kong toys, are one of the best toys for this.
While it may be hard to part ways with a dog remaining at home, it’s detrimental in relieving one’s own stress. Walks alone start giving the idea of distance to your dog and as the days go by, as progressively more time is added to the walks, dogs can become more comfortable being home alone.
If these options don’t work, some other alternatives include going on a puppy play date or using over-the-counter calming aids. Both of these options can really tire your pet out quickly and efficiently. Make sure to check with a veterinarian beforehand so your best friend remains happy and healthy!