How to prepare pets for life after stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Many of us are spending more time with our pets than ever before, which is great – for now. It’s important to remember that your pet will have adapted to this new normal. If they are suddenly left alone after this long period of having you home all the time, they’re going to think “where did everyone go?” and possibly develop home alone anxiety. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your pets will be prepared for the transition.

Things to do NOW to avoid a total shock to your pets later:

Keep your pets on a similar routine (feeding, walks, playtime, etc.) as to how it will be when you go back to work and the kids go to school. This may actually help your whole family!

If your pet normally spends time contained somewhere while you are away at work, then make sure they still spend some alone time there, even if you are home.

Be aware that long, twice daily walks or taking up running with your dog at this time can be a great stress reliever, but please try to keep this up when you go back to work! If you don’t think that’s going to be possible, look to see if a doggie daycare or a dog walking/ running service will be an option for your dog. By checking into costs and options, you can start budgeting and preparing for this now.

Leave your dog home when you take that trip to the grocery store. This way they can have a reminder that they are OK being home alone. If they show signs of anxiety, you still have time to work up to the change.

If you have temporarily changed a room at home into an office, and your pets have been spending time in there with you, ask yourself if this room will be available to your pets after you go back to work. If they won’t be allowed in there when you go back to the office, don’t allow them in that room now (or at least not all day).

Keep in mind that there are things we should not be teaching our pets, even though they may seem like no big deal right now. For example, don’t let your pets run out into the street to play with your kids just because there isn’t much traffic right now and don’t let your pet follow you everywhere all day.

When you go back to work / kids go back to school:

  • ∙Give your pet exercise, playtime and enrichment prior to going to work so they are happily tired when alone.
  • ∙Give your pets fun things to do when you are gone, like puzzle toys or Kongs stuffed with treats, new enrichment items, a new bed, etc.
  • ∙Look into products that can help with home alone anxiety such as Adaptil (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) and Bach Flower “Rescue Remedy” which may help during times of stress and transition.

Need help? Oregon Humane Society offers affordable training services.

Learn more at oregonhumane.org/training or call our free pet behavior help line at (503) 416-2983.