Some of us are heading back to the workplace, and I’ve had discussions with people about their fears of returning to their job and one topic that has come up on more than one occasion is what about peoples pets? When you think about what your pet might be thinking during this transitional period, conversations may go through your mind like this:

“Don’t leave me Mom… Where are you going… When are you coming back…I’m confused…Why are you abandoning me…. Do you not like me anymore…What did I do wrong…I won’t shit outside my litter box anymore I swear…I won’t touch your shoes, they stink anyway… Why are we not going on long walks like we used to…Please come back…?!

We all have a special relationship with our pets, and both of us may struggle with inevitable change. Those of us that have been sheltering at home, or working from home have animals that have become accustomed to having their owner around, and may experience separation anxiety when their owner goes back to work. I worry about my own separation anxiety, but think if I plan ahead I will better be prepared as will my cat when the time comes for me to be absent all day.

Hereare some tips to consider to help alleviate some of the stress or depression that your pet may experience when you are back to work:

  • Start spending more time separate from your pet. This may be a challenge for those who are afraid to be outdoors and prefer to shelter at home, but even if you can schedule two times a day take a walk outside it will begin the process of positive separation. Initially your pet might become anxious when they see you going in and out, but as time goes on they will better become adjusted to a shift in their routine.
  • If you are friends with a neighbor that is sheltering at home who is not back to work maybe they can check in on your pet when you are absent.
  • If you don’t have a neighbor willing to check in on your pet you may consider hiring someone to stop in a couple times a day to spend time with your pet. People pay for babysitters all the time for their children, and some people do consider a pet to be a child so personally I have no problem spending money during this adjustment period.
  • Order some toys online if you don’t want to go to the store and have a good supply of toys for them to play with, and help fill that void when you’re not around.

Like I said, I worry about my own separation anxiety when I go back to work, but if I do some of these steps it will not only benefit my pets separation anxiety, but also hopefully help curb mine.