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Heading back to work? Your pet could suffer from separation anxiety

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The stay-at-home order might have been good news for our pets, but it looks like the dog days of the pandemic could be over as more people go back to work.

Dr. Mike Graves, a veterinarian at Pet Wellness Clinics in Indianapolis says a few months of people being at home is enough time for your pet to create a habit.

“Going back to work for eight hours a day again can be stressful, they could be wondering where you went, and that can cause anxiety,” said Dr. Graves.

Some signs of pet anxiety are loss of appetite, drooling and panting more than normal. Dr. Graves says extreme cases could result in scratching at the door or chewing up things they didn’t before.

To help your pet prepare for the adjustment, Dr. Graves says owners should ease into a routine.

“The key is to do it in small segments and work your way out. Just start spending less time at home and when you’re back at home, spend more time with them,” said Dr. Graves.

Some pet owners out at Broad Ripple Bark Park on Tuesday said they are already taking steps to prepare.

“My wife is a nurse and I’m a teacher so I’ve been home a lot. We’ve been getting ready though, giving her that alone time so she gets used to it again,” said Aaron Book, speaking of his dog Guinness.

Dr. Graves also suggests leaving distractions for your pet in the first few weeks back at work. Some ideas are to leave the radio or television on, keep a window open so they can hear what’s going on outside, and keep extra toys out while you’re away.

As far as pets and owners being out and about more, social distancing for dogs isn’t a concern.

“You should always wash your hands if you touch a dog you don’t know, but there is little evidence of dog to person COVID -19 transmission,” Dr. Graves added.

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