Pet Separation Anxiety: Help your pet cope while you are at work

April 8, 2022 | Denise

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Have you been working at home for the past two years? Did you get a pet to keep you company?

Animal companions have helped a lot of people cope with uncertainty and isolation during the pandemic. I may not have gotten my cats because of the lockdown but their antics and snuggles definitely made the days a lot easier.

A black tuxedo cat lying in a black wooden crate and a tabby cat sitting beside the crate. They are both looking intently at the camera.
My cats Frog (left) and Robot (right). Photo property of the author.

Now that the pandemic restrictions are lifting, many of the people who have been working from home are returning to an in-person work situation.  For us humans, this just means an end to working in pajamas and getting used to commuting again. For our pets, it means suddenly spending a lot more time on their own. Animals don't understand that we are going to work and will come back. They just know that the person they spent all their time with is suddenly gone a lot. This can be very stressful and upsetting for them, but it doesn't have to be. 

Here are some reading recommendations to help address separation anxiety. With a little guidance and patience, you can prepare your pet for when you go back to work. And remember, different animal trainers have different approaches. You may want to check out a few before you decide what is right for you and your pet.

Dogs

Cover image of Zak George's guide to a well-behaved dog : proven solutions to the most common training problems for all ages, breeds, and mixes

Zak George's guide to a well-behaved dog : proven solutions to the most common training problems for all ages, breeds, and mixes by Zak George and Dina Roth Port

Zak George's dog training videos have reached millions of people around the world through social media. His easy-to-use training guide provides practical techniques to help address common problem behaviours, including separation anxiety, chewing, and barking. 

 

Cover image of Be right back! : how to overcome separation anxiety and regain your freedom

Be right back! : how to overcome separation anxiety and regain your freedom by Julie Naismith

Separation anxiety is stressful for both the pet and their human. Julie Naismith's evidence-based approach offers manageable steps to help your dog cope with anxiety when they are left alone. 

 

Cover image of Enlightened dog training : become the peaceful alpha your dog needs and respects

Enlightened dog training : become the peaceful alpha your dog needs and respectsFrom fearful to fear free by Jesse Sternberg

Animals can't tell us with words how they are feeling so it's up to us to interpret these emotions. Jesse Sternberg's approach to dog training can help you identify your dog's underlying emotions so that you can better understand and change behaviours such as anxiety and aggression.

 

Cover image of Home alone--and happy! : essential life skills for preventing separation anxiety in dogs and puppies

Home alone – and happy! : essential life skills for preventing separation anxiety in dogs and puppies by Kate Mallatratt

Don't wait until your dog starts destroying your house to address separation anxiety. Kate Mallatratt offers a proactive approach to addressing anxiety before it becomes a serious issue.

 

Cats

Cover image of The handbook for a happy cat : speak their language, decode their quirks, and meet their needs-so they'll love you back!

The handbook for a happy cat by Liesbeth Puts

Cats are often considered much more independent than dogs but there's still a lot you can do to make sure they are happy and healthy in your home. The Handbook for a Happy Cat will help you identify signs of stress and aggression, correct problem behaviour and enhance playtime.

 

Cover image of What's my cat thinking? : understand your cat to give them a happy life

What's my cat thinking? : understand your cat to give them a happy life by Jo Lewis

Cat behaviour can sometimes be a bit puzzling. Most cat owners have funny anecdotes about their pets doing something that doesn't make sense to our human brains. Sometimes the cat is just being silly and playful but sometimes there's a logical reason behind the action. Jo Lewis provides insight into these odd behaviours so that you can better understand your cat.

 

Cover image of Total cat mojo : the ultimate guide to life with your cat

Total cat mojo : the ultimate guide to life with your cat by Jackson Galaxy and Mikel Delgado

Jackson Galaxy's approach to addressing problem behaviours is all about helping your cat find their "mojo." From their first day in your home through to the senior years, Galaxy's guide can help your cat feel confident and content in their environment.

 

Chickens?

Maybe your choice of quarantine pet was a little less conventional. Did you perhaps choose a chicken? If you did, we've got you covered!

Click with your chick a complete chicken training course using the clicker

Click with your chick : a complete chicken training course using the clicker by Giene Keyes

Chickens are becoming a popular choice as pets. They provide companionship and fresh eggs – what's not to love? Admittedly, they're not well-suited to life in an apartment but can be a fun pet if you have a backyard. Giene Keyes' guide offers tips on how to clicker train your new feathered friend. If you did get a chicken or are considering getting one, be sure to check your area's local bylaws to make sure chickens are allowed. The City of Toronto's UrbanHensTO Pilot Program came to end on March 31, 2022. Stay tuned for more information on the future of the little chickens in the big city!

 


Having a pet is a big commitment. Whether you recently got a new friend, or are considering getting one, that animal is relying on you to look after their well-being. It can be a lot of work, but it sure is rewarding! Have your pets helped you cope with the pandemic?

 

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