Tips to prevent negative mental and psychological effects on pets due to routine changes post lockdown
This question may seem very insignificant but it can have deep emotional and behavioral negative effects if not handled properly. This may lead to a lifetime of hardships in your pet management and reduce or delete all the joy in your pet parenting.
So today I will guide you about the causes that may hamper your relationship with your pet due to change in routine. The main reason for this will be a phenomenon called “SEPARATION ANXIETY”.
What is separation anxiety?
Definition: A condition in which animals exhibit symptoms of anxiety or excessive distress which may be violent or submissive when they are left alone.
What are the main reasons for separation anxiety?
- Sudden change in routine: All the activities of all the people living in the house including the self habits of a pet form a routine for your pet.
Eg. The time of waking of different family members and the pet, the time of food preparation, the time of food for the pet, the time when people go to their work or children go to school and return back etc
The pets become habitual to a certain routine and do expect all the things to happen at the expected time. Any sudden change in this routine will set him off and cause separation anxiety.
- Change in people living in house: Addition of a new family member without a proper introduction can lead to territorial behavior or separation anxiety. Similarly death of any person or any person leaving home for long time will lead to this behavior change.
- Adoption: Adopting a pet from a shelter changes his environment completely and hence separation anxiety can set in due to unfamiliar environment and changed routine. This can be corrected with love, care and positive reinforcement.
- Changing home or moving to a new city altogether: A permanent change in territory is a big stress factor for your pet as he or she misses its cozy corner or regular scents, scenes and people.
How can you identify Separation Anxiety?
If your pet is trained, it is easy to identify the signs of separation anxiety. But if untrained for a particular thing, it is good time to train them in the new permanent environment.
Following are the behaviors which clearly indicate that the pet is in stress and needs attention at the earliest.
- Excessive Barking and howling
- Fast movements
- Urination or defecation in unwanted place
- Extreme excitement or nervousness
- Eating grass or unwanted material from ground
How to prevent separation anxiety?
- Feeding before the pet is left alone
- Pee and potty before the pet is left alone
- Good exercise in the morning or just before leaving your pet alone at home
- Safe and calm place for the lonely time
- Pet proofing your home
- Crate training
How to treat separation anxiety ?
- Ignore and low key behavior
- Chew toys
- Slowly increasing the time for separation
- Wait till calm
Always seek your vet’s help if you feel that the things are going out of control. There are medications available to calm down your pet but they should be taken only by the veterinarian’s advice.
Keep Loving… Keep Living… Keep Petting…