COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With most people staying home during the pandemic, pets may be very excited to be constantly surrounded by their humans. But, as people start to head back to school and work, their furry friends may become anxious.
“One of the things we try to tell our clients is while we are working from home, try to keep your pet's routine somewhat to what it’s been. So if your pet does spend some time in its crate everyday, pick a room that is your working office. You go to that office, you go ahead and let your pet spend some time in your crate like they normally would when you go to work and then if you come home at lunch to walk them, do that same routine, so try to keep as much of the routine during shelter in place," said College Hills Veterinary Hospital Dr. Kim Stewart.
Even though pets may be excited to spend more time with their humans, these changes in one’s routine can negatively affect them.
“We are definitely seeing that many pets are stressed because people are home too much. So older dogs want to sleep, but they smell something or see their owner moving around so they want to keep getting up and following them. That up and down up and down, especially in dogs with arthritic hips, elbows and knees, they need some downtime. A lot of our feline patients, they need their 18 hours of sleep everyday, but they do like their downtime, their alone time. We are seeing an increasing number of cats with stress induced disease, dealing with cortisol levels being high because they're on alert. They’re excited, and because their environment has changed," said Stewart.
Signs of anxiety in dogs include panting, pacing and even whining or crying. Cats tend to seek places to hide and may even start to have poor litter pan habits.
“The one thing we keep seeing and keep advising people on is have a schedule and try to get them back used to getting up early and being alone. Maybe if they stay in a kennel while you’re gone, try that. Get them back on a normal eating schedule too. Just like we have to condition ourselves to get back to the office, your pet’s going to need that too," said Aggieland Humane Society communication coordinator Darby McKenzie.
Each pet is different and will need their own time frame to adjust to the changes in your life as well.