Mental Wellness and our Beasts
Mental wellness isn’t just important for humans, it’s important for our beasts as well! Our pets support and comfort us so it’s only right that we provide the same love back to them.
The pandemic has given us the opportunity to spend 24/7 with our beasts; however, as cases of COVID are continuing to drop, restrictions are loosening. While the prospect of getting back to “normal” life is exciting, we can’t forget about the effects this will have on our beasts. They have grown accustom to spending all day with us so it’s important to help ease them back into a new routine.
A change in schedule can lead to separation anxiety. A few of common indicators of separation anxiety are barking, howling, or crying for extended periods of time once their humans have left the home. A pet may also be destructive or have more accidents than usual and can display obsessive behaviors, such as licking their paws or pacing. By taking the proper measures and working with your beast, you should be able to smoothly transition into post-pandemic life – whatever that may look like for you!
Below are some tips on how to ease your beast into post-pandemic life:
Start Early! Make sure to start early! If you know you have upcoming plans or need to return to the office in the nearing weeks, slowly re-introduce your pup to spending time alone. Try leaving your home for 5 minutes, then 15, and work up to an hour. This will allow your pet time to adjust to their new reality. Baby steps are key to help ease your pet into their new routine.
Daily Exercise! A tired pup is a happy pup. Which means more sleep and less barking while you’re away! Like in humans, exercise can also help reduce anxiety and stress. A decrease in anxiety will decrease destructive behavior, so it will be less likely that your pup will tear up your couch while you’re out. Daily exercise improves mental and emotional health by releasing endorphins. Your pup will be physically, mentally, and emotionally better! Sunshine also benefits our beasts as well – which leads to a better sleep schedule.
Exposure! Is your pet easily spooked by loud noises? Does your pet constantly look to you for comfort? Introducing your pet to new people, dogs, and experiences may help their anxiety. After a year and a half of being home surrounded by their humans, our beasts are unsure how to react to new situations. By slowly exposing your pet to new situations, people, and noises, your pet will become more comfortable to handling new stimuli even if you are not home to comfort them.
Cozy Environment! Create a cozy and safe environment for your beast. Do they have a favorite toy? Try exclusively giving your pup that toy when you’re gone to associate something positive with your departure. Does your beast get scared of loud noises or neighbors passing by? Try playing soft music when you’re beast is home alone. It is also important to ensure your pet will be safe when you’re away. Put away any toys your pet could choke on, make sure their water bowl is full, and hide any poisonous snacks!
At the end of the day, make sure to give your beast some extra cuddles, treats, and love. It’s an adjustment for both you and your pet, and some extra cuddles will benefit you both! Need more help? Make sure to consult your vet or a behavior specialist!