One of the positive things to come out of the COVID-19 crisis? Pet adoptions!
In May of 2021, the ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) released data from a survey of 5,020 respondents confirming that close to one in five households had acquired a cat or dog since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
Our loyal four-legged friends kept us company while we worked from home, helped stave off loneliness when lockdowns limited our social interactions, motivated us to get outdoors (no matter the weather), and kept us calm when life got stressful. And they continue to enhance our lives every single day.
But with COVID-19 infections waning countrywide, many of us are leaving home to go to work and fulfill social obligations. The result? These helicopter-parented pandemic pets are not used to being left home alone, and this change of routine is not a welcome one. As pet owners, we might even be experiencing some separation anxiety ourselves!
Dogs and cats (contrary to popular belief, some of our domesticated feline friends do get separation anxiety) experience separation anxiety when they are too dependent or too attached to their owners. Dogs sometimes howl or whine excessively, destroy objects or furniture, or soil the floors. Cats may meow or cry excessively, eat too fast or not eat at all, groom themselves obsessively, vomit, or try to escape.
There are some great strategies – both high and low-tech – to address your pet’s separation anxiety. Read on for some helpful tips!
Home surveillance system cameras, including wide-angle cameras, indoor and outdoor HD cameras, and stream video recorders can help you keep tabs on your pet through your smartphone or laptop, providing a window into how your dog or cat is occupying him or herself while you are out. These services will also allow you to record what is happening so you can view it later in the day.
Knowing what your pet is doing and how they are reacting can provide insight into how long it takes for them to calm down after you leave if they’re barking and disturbing neighbors, and which strategies are successfully pacifying them. Are the soft rock puppy jams a hit? Or did your doggie prefer DOGTV (yes, it’s a real thing that was created to entertain and comfort your dog)?
Security services can provide notifications when there’s unusual movement or sound in your home, such as a crash if your distressed pup knocks over a trash can.
Some indoor cameras include built-in speakers and microphones so that you can speak to your pet to soothe them if they become agitated.
Smart cameras also allow you to monitor who is entering and leaving your home and when, so you’ll know if the pet sitter arrived promptly to provide your doggie with their scheduled jaunt around the block.
Even if your dog or cat remains calm when you leave the home, security systems can provide the extra reassurance you may need! By providing a remote camera view of your pet, these security surveillance systems can give you peace of mind that your beloved pet is secure and comfortable while you are out and about.
An experienced animal behaviorist or veterinarian can help you establish behavioral strategies to help your pet overcome their separation anxiety. Some of those methods include starting with shorter separations and gradually increasing the time that you are out and counterconditioning.
Supplements and Prescriptions
Using herbs and vitamins to treat pups for separation has shown some anecdotal evidence of effectiveness. These nutraceuticals are not regulated like prescription drugs so be sure to ask your veterinarian for advice before purchasing. For severe separation anxiety, your veterinarian might suggest a prescription medication.
Research by the peer-reviewed journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that audiobooks are a useful form of stress control and enrichment for dogs in shelters and can also be used to reduce agitation for dogs in adoptive homes. Whether your dog is a Harry Potter kind of pooch or more of a nonfiction aficionado, try playing an audiobook to help reduce their separation anxiety.
State-of-the-Art Home Security Solutions to Keep You, Your Family, and Your Pet Safe
To help you and your pet contend with post-pandemic separation anxiety, partner with an experienced security company to install a state-of-the-art security system for your home. SafeTouch Security is the nation’s largest independent communications security company. We continually implement the industry’s most advanced technology and never cut corners on equipment or service. Contact us today for a quote!