How to help pets with separation anxiety when it’s time to return to the office

As many Americans return to work, their pets may be faced with being home alone for much of the day. A veterinarian offers her advice on how to reduce their anxiety while transitioning back to work.

Katy Nelson, senior veterinarian at Chewy, told WTOP that there are ways to soften the blow of returning to work on pets.

“If you haven’t quite gone back yet, then now is a good time for you to start getting your pets ready,” Nelson said. “So maybe start going out for an hour or two each day, putting them in their kennel and getting them used to another routine.”

She said the preparation should help with separation anxiety, but veterinarians may recommend medications for more serious cases.

Nelson also said bringing in a trainer could help both the owner and the pet establish a routine that would diminish the chances for anxiety.

With the summer heat, dog owners will also have to consider how to walk their dogs without burning their paws on hot pavement.

“If the pavement is too hot on your hand, it’s probably going to be too hot on for their paws,” Nelson said. “It’s best to explore routes where you can get off of that pavement — get into the grass, go to the park, do something where it’s going to be a little easier on their feet.”

It’s also best to get walks done in the morning or evening when the heat would be less severe.

“Always make sure that you’re familiar with signs of overheating as well — they’re panting excessively and they can’t stop; their gums might be a funny color, either a little too red or maybe even a little bit blue; or if they’re just starting to slow down and not want to go any further,” Nelson said.

“Those are signs that you need to be really in tune with your pet and you might even need to be ready to head to the animal emergency room if they’re not improving quickly.”

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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