For many out there COVID-19 has certainly turned our lives upside down. Forced lockdowns and work from home regulations have seen many of us resort to some negative life choices and others have placed a more positive spin on the situation. Whether through increased alcohol consumption, exercise, new hobbies, or buying pets, people found different ways to cope with this ‘new’ way of living.
If you are one of the many that sought refuge by bringing a new dog into your household, it is a timely reminder to consider what happens when we come out of Covid and start to resume a more normal ‘human’ pattern of life. Will your dog be ready for it?
The RSPCA Victoria alone received 1600 adoption applications in April with a 45 percent increase in dog adoptions and a 20 percent increase in cat adoptions. Their NSW offices were flooded with foster care inquires receiving about 2,100 calls throughout COVID. In QLD a total of 7,297 pets were adopted early COVID with 4,302 being cats/kittens and 2,274 dogs/puppies. Pet Rescue has noted that their adoption rates had doubled between March and April, with 12,534 adoptions in just over a month.
While getting a pet has been great for people during COVID, that is all bound to change with people heading back to work and school, and Bark Control is feeling that flood through constant calls and emails with dogs suffering from being left alone for the first time.
Dogs are a pack animal in nature and bringing them into our society disrupts that. Pre COVID people would buy pets on the weekend and leave them alone as soon as Monday rolled around to go back to work. However, COVID has forced people to be with their pets 24/7, which causes a few issues. Your pet would have grown used to being with you every day. With that sudden shift of having to leave them, your pets' routine will change and likely distress them, causing anxiety-related problems, like separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety occurs when your pet is distressed. That is a result of your pet being upset or even fearful that you have left them.
Owners need to be training their pets from the start, so they get used to being alone for long periods of time. Do this in short bursts initially, leave them for 10-15 minutes to desensitise them, go for a short drive or walk leaving the dog alone. Slowly increase that time until they can be left alone for extended periods. If you have any concerns, get a neighbor to monitor your dogs' behavior while you are out.
If needing to leave for an extended period, exercise your dog as close to leaving as you can.
Dogs follow a natural pattern, which we disrupt when taking them into our care. You should try and take advantage of this and follow their natural pattern as closely as you can.
Exercise them (that is their hunt) before going to work. Feed them. Then they should want to Sleep (Resting Period).
You can use interactive toys and other slow-release food toys to distract them while you are out.
A good thing to try is freezing bones/food in a bottle which will keep them preoccupied while you are gone.
Try these things and if you are still having trouble give us a call at 1300 668 931