PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — As more and more people head back to the office after more than a year of working from home, it's definitely an adjustment. And not just for you, but also for your pets. It's good to know there are some things you can do to prepare your pet to suddenly have the house all to themselves!
Pinellas County Animal Services really wanted to get the message out about this now. If you are back at work and having problems with your pet adjusting to a new routine, they can get you the help you need to keep your fur babies in the family.
"Unfortunately, what we're seeing across the country right now is, as people are returning to work, many of them instead of working through issues with their new pets, they are taking those new pets back to the shelters where they came from," said Doug Brightwell, the Director of Pinellas County Animal Services.
He says they aren't seeing that problem in the Tampa Bay area, yet.
To make sure that doesn't happen, he's reminding all pet owners there are many resources to help them.
"If you need pet sitters, if you need daycare for boarding, if you need veterinary references, trainers, groomers, whatever; we can help you find that. Because those can be overwhelming for new dog owners, new cat owners, how to find those resources or the right resources for your pet."
If you know that your routine will be changing drastically in the next few weeks, start preparing your pet now.
"If you're going to be gone for eight hours a day, go ahead and start leaving for a couple of hours a day. Reward them before you leave, make it a positive thing before you leave and then have a positive reaction for them when you get back home."
10 Tampa Bay's Jenny Dean has experienced separation from her dog and saw firsthand how it impacted their behavior.
"My dog, Molly, is a 3-year-old boxer and hasn't been alone more than a couple of hours here and there over the past year. One day my husband and I had to be gone 7-8 hours at the same time for work. and she chewed up our bookshelf near the front door. This was clearly a sign of anxiety, so we talked to our vet about it and we now give her a sturdy rubber bone that you can fill with treats to keep her busy while we are gone. That has helped, but each pet is different."
Some of you have told us on Twitter what you do to help your pet transition.
Wendy tweeted this: "We bought a 9-month-old American Bulldog and I put him outside in his pen until after dinner even though I'm home to train him for when I won't always be available. It's working out great."
"Leave the TV on, or a radio, helps them feel they're not alone. Have a dogsitter come during the day to break up the time alone," said a tweet from user jbalou.
Here are more tips from American Veterinary Medical Association:
• Slowly introduce workday routines to ease animal's anxiety.
• Give your pet plenty of exercise; keep pets engaged.
• Recognize signs of stress.
•Speak with your veterinarian.
What other people are reading right now:
►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app
►Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter