(NBC News) Americans are returning to the office in increasing numbers and leaving pets who’ve grown used to work-from-home routines behind.
That can cause anxiety and stress in our four-legged friends.
The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests easing your pet into the new routine ahead of time if possible by waking up, feeding and walking them like you will when you return to the office and leaving for shorter periods of time on a daily basis.
“Gradually extend the time that you’re gone. So then give them a small treat as you walk out the door because that kind of conditions your pet to find it rewarding when you leave,” says AVMA president Dr. John Howe.
You can also set your pet up for success while you’re gone with a safe space of their own, perhaps crate training for dogs.
It’s also important to make sure they get enough exercise.
“Doing that is extremely important because it helps calm them, it relaxes them,” Dr. Howe explains.
Those who adopted dogs and cats at the beginning of the pandemic can start socializing them by slowly introducing healthy friends, relatives and neighbors.
Experts also advise you watch for signs your pet may be struggling. Destructive behavior or accidents are indications it’s time to talk to your vet.
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