Reducing pet anxiety as you return to the workplace

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - As Upper Michigan residents adjust to a phased re-opening, much of the workforce may be returning to the workplace instead of working from home.

But your returning to work may lead to increased anxiety for pets.

Doctor Tim Hunt of Bayshore Veterinary Hospital says cats actually prefer to be alone during the day and should adjust well. In fact, he says our feline friends may have been stressed by our working from home for the past ten weeks.

"We had a whole rash of urinary cat problems early on with the pandemic. I really think it's the stress of having everybody around the house all the time versus when cats are alone for eight hours a day. And suddenly mom and dad are around and they didn't like their space taken up," Dr. Tim proposed.

However, dogs tend benefit from a fixed routine. Dr. Tim says dog owners should re-establish that routine before leaving their pets alone all day.

"We just have to re-establish that routine with them. That every night at 5:30 when you get home, you take them for a walk. Where now, they're used to doing it throughout the day. If you establish that routine for dogs, then they'll look forward to it. Even though they can't tell time, they'll know that at this point in the day with the light at a certain level that mom and dad are going to take them for a walk,” Dr. Tim advised.

Dr. Tim says it shouldn’t take long for your dog to become accustomed to a routine, especially if you can keep them stimulated when you are with them.

“Dogs will tend to recondition back to where they were at before without much fuss. The one good thing we have here in the U.P. is we have a lot of open space where we can take them out and let them run free away from a road,” Dr. Tim pointed out.

Be sure to stay up to date on your pets flea and tick medicine to prevent infestation and disease.

If you recently adopted a new dog or a puppy, Dr. Tim says you may have to go the extra mile for them.

"With the puppies we're trying to house train, we might have a setback there where during the day, they can only hold it until lunch time. So I would say to get back home for them and let them out," Dr. Tim suggested.

Dr. Tim also says that some dogs, especially puppies may suffer from the lack of socialization of late. Dog owners can easily fix that with the right exposure.

"They're just not getting out to see people like they had before. So exposure to different things for puppies is important, be it other people, vehicles, the lake, whatever it might be. Let them see other people moving around and then they get used to them not being a threat," Dr. Tim recommended.