If you’ve been working virtually and your pooch has come to appreciate that, heading back to work might take a bit of adapting. Get back into a positive routine with these tips to help prevent separation anxiety in your dog when going back to work. A few simple ideas can go a long way in helping dogs feel confident, relaxed, and happy even when their owners are away.
Instead of making an abrupt transition when heading back to work, it can be helpful to make it a slower change. Consider what time you’ll need to leave for your commute, and set time aside to do all the morning doggy tasks you and Fido need. Start feeding your pup, giving any medications, and going for your morning work at the same time each morning. This should be done when you would be doing it each morning before work to be the most effective. If your dog will have someone come in and check in on them or take them for a brief while during the day while you’re at work, have the person begin coming at the scheduled time in advance of going back to the office. This way, your dog gets more familiar with the new routine before you actually have to leave for the day, and it can lend a sense of familiarity and ease anxiety.
If you’re looking for another option that could reduce anxiety in dogs, consider doing all your morning dog duties except feeding your pet, then make it an engaging activity they can do while you’re gone. A slow food mat is a great option for soft foods, as are puzzle feeders for dry food. Choose unique and interactive ways for your pup to get his morning meal while you’re headed to the office can be a great way to help keep your dog entertained and anxiety-free.
If your pet has been front and center in your days for a season, it can also be helpful to slowly start spending time away from them doing the day. If you are not always available to your dog for quick cuddles, playtime, or treats, help ease the transition by doing these things, then spending time apart from your pup each day.
Start with a short amount of time away, then gradually increase it until your dog is comfortable with you leaving for the same amount of time you would for work each day. If it’s not feasible to actually leave the house for that long, consider heading to a different part of the house than you usually work, so your dog doesn’t look for you in the usual location.
If you’re worried your dog will be craving some extra attention when you head back to work, another idea to help ease the anxiety is to consider a doggy daycare or get help from friends, neighbors, or even outside dog care services. Having a friendly face come in and take your dog for an afternoon walk could be helpful, or having some human and dog-friend playtime at a doggy daycare could help soothe your pup when he’s not able to be with you. If you have friends or family members that also have pets nearby, you can even get creative, and trade care or pet playtime with one another’s pets, so your furry companions get all the love and attention they want.
To prevent your dog from getting bored and help curb anxiety, make sure they have plenty of toys and activities to help stay busy during the day; along with traditional chew toys, there are lots of great options on the market, like interactive items such as topple toys, dog puzzles, hide-and-seek toys, and even indoor digging platforms or snuffle mats. Another great option is treat-related toys that get dogs engaged and using their skills to figure out how to get the hidden treats. Bones, rawhides, and other items to chew on will also help dogs with anxiety when you go back to work. A soft plush toy or cozy dog hoodies can also be special and comforting to help ease the transition.
Let’s face it: dogs spend a lot of time sleeping. You can rest assured that your pup is fully relaxed and comfortable by upgrading their bedding before you go back to work. Choose a high-quality, comfortable dog bed that is well-made and appropriate for your dog’s size. You may also want to get a throw blanket or two, especially for your pup. These can be placed in your dog’s favorite areas around the home and can be comforting to curl up on when you’re not around. It’s also an easy item to throw in the wash so that it will stay fresh. You may even want to give your pup one of your soft, comfy t-shirts or other comfy clothes to lay on to help ease anxiety.
Interactive options like smart dog monitors, interactive dog toys that record your voice, and more can help your pet hear the sound of your voice during the day. Some products are even equipped with the capability to release treats using an app on your smartphone, so you can make your dog’s day even better.
While it’s always hard to be away from your favorite furry companion, you can make the transition back to work worry-free by taking some time to prepare and having the right tools and items. Help make separation anxiety a thing of this past with the right plans and tips!