Senior Pet Separation Anxiety & Returning to the Office

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separation anxiety in senior pets

It’s been a long year and a half and now that restrictions have been lifted in many places, people are returning to the workplace. Our furry friends have been accustomed to us working from home, or just being around more than usual and this transition back to the office may be especially difficult for your senior pets. Senior pets in general have a harder time adapting to changes and being alone more than usual, may cause some pets to experience separation anxiety. 

When a pet feels anxious, they may act out in ways that are unusual for them, including chewing on things, destructive behaviors, potty accidents and many other unusual behaviors such as panting, shaking, pacing, barking, excessive licking, etc. Separation anxiety can be common whenever there is an abrupt change, and returning to the office, even if only part time, can cause your senior dog or cat to act out. 

There are several things you can do to help your senior pet through this transition phase of you returning to work, such as:

Make it seem like you are home: Turn on the television or radio, leave a light on if you are going to be out in the evening, and make sure your senior pet has plenty of toys, treats and water – just like they do when you are home with them. The less dark and quiet it is, the more comfortable they should be. 

Don’t make leaving eventful. Try not to overreact when you walk out the door. Be sure to take your dog out for a potty break just before you leave, and if you have time, a short walk will tire him out so leaving won’t be so eventful for him. 

Keep accidents from happening

 Anxious pets are more likely to have accidents around the home when you are gone for long stretches; especially if your pet is older and having difficulties to begin with. First, make sure there is no medical reason for accidents while you are gone. Speak with your vet to rule out illnesses. If anxiety is deemed the cause of these accidents, be sure to provide accommodations for your senior pet.  

If your senior cat is having accidents while you are out, be sure to keep your cat’s litter box as clean as possible. An automatic cleaning litter box can be a big help to ensure that older cats use the box.

This automatic litter box will keep your cat’s box clean and ready for her. 

For dog’s, an indoor pea pad or dedicated lawn area inside the home may help if they are having accidents in the house while you are out. 

The Doggie Lawn indoor potty is a great solution for older, incontinent dogs or dogs who have recently started having accidents while you are out. 

Get companion help

If your senior pet is anxious while you are at work, you may want to also consider having someone come to your home during your time away, to interact with your pet for an hour or so or you may want to consider a dog walking or doggy day care service. For dog walking, doggy day care providers in your area, or just a drop in visit to check on your pet, a  service like Rover  may help. 


Get your pet a snuggle buddy

Snuggle Puppy from Smart Pet Love helps reduce negative behaviors such as whining and barking and can help pets who are anxious. Pets can snuggle up to Snuggle Puppy and feel a soothing pulsing heartbeat and heat pack which can help calm your pet. 

Check in on your pet

A camera that allows you to view and interact with your pet while you are away can help soothe your pet by letting them believe you are nearby. A camera like the one from Furbo has a barking alert and barking sensor to let you know when your dog is barking. It sends a push notification to your phone when it detects barking. You can turn on the camera and talk with your pet to calm them down via the app and even send them a treat when they relax. 

Try Calming Supplements

Calming supplements can help dogs or cats who need help reducing acute anxiety and stress, with active proven ingredients that promote relaxation and restful sleep without drowsiness. Consult with your vet first, but if they agree that a supplement can help, you may want to look at products from The Anxious Pet.  

No substitution can entirely ease an anxious pet’s anxiety, but there are ways to minimize the anxiety while you transition back to the office. Just be sure that when you return, you give your dog or cat lot’s of extra special attention and love. In time, things should ease up and return to the new, new normal. 

With your help, we can keep senior pets out of shelters and place them in loving, caring homes. Your gift can help save senior pets from an uncertain future.

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