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Anxiety grows in pets and owners as we transition back to working in the office

Working from home with pets
Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 22:23:26-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Pet owners anticipating going back to the office, as the coronavirus vaccine becomes more widely available, are nervous how the change will affect their furry friends.

Separation anxiety can show itself through howling, destructive behavior and hiding.

Dr. Gary Weitzman, San Diego Humane Society President & CEO, said look for odd behaviors as you're preparing to leave your home. "Look for the signs for your dog or your cat before you leave, drooling, panting... For cats too, hiding."

Weitzman wrote nine books on pet behavior and well being.

"Make sure you have behavioral enrichment for your animal, so whether it's a dog or a cat, stuffed Kongs, puzzle toys, tv on, music on, go with the Mozart effect," he said.

Weitzman also suggests easing your pet into a full work day without you. He said you should take your pet to a part of your home where they are most comfortable, "give them a treat, so it's a good thing, don't make a big deal out of it. Get in your car, drive down the street and come back home and open the door and say hello to your dog again. Don't make a big deal of it, don't go crazy petting and loving your dog at that point, because you don't want them to anticipate that moment that you come back all day."

He said these short trips can help them adjust to you being away.

Concern is growing after San Diego shelters saw a boom in adoptions and a drop off in surrenders a year ago.

"We're worried about once people start making that transition to go back to the office place, those animals won't be at home with their people as much, that might lead to increased relinquishments or owner surrenders as we call it," he said, worried bad behavior could lead to more pets in the shelter.

He hopes that doesn't happen, "I don't think it's going to happen here in San Diego County because, #1 people are really committed to their pets and there's resources from San Diego Humane and other organizations to help people keep their pets."

Saying he knows how a furry friend can steal your heart, "I think people fell in love and you don't give up what you love."

If you need help with your pet, the San Diego Humane Societyhas a list of resources including a pet pantry, housing and veterinary care support.

If you are looking for behavior and training classes, click here.