As the world has changed and we are working and learning from home, many of us have acquired a new set of co-workers. Co-workers who don’t respect personal space, demand our attention when they want it, and try to help. The internet is full of photos and videos of pets’ photo-bombing conference calls, cats sleeping on keyboards, and dogs announcing the postman or delivery driver in the middle of a meeting.
While having pets can help relieve stress and lower anxiety, having pets disrupting conference calls and interrupting work can increase an already stressful situation. How can you make working from home beneficial for you and your pet?
Before the workday starts, take a quick walk around the block with your dog. This can help get the energy out and allow you some time to work. Break up your workday every few hours with an activity or exercise for your pup. A game of “hall ball”, fetch or tug of war can help expend some pent-up energy. If your space is more limited, a quick walk around the block or to the corner can help both you and your pet.
Moving your pet’s bed or blanket near your workspace can help keep them content while you are working and keep your distractions to a minimum. A quick belly rub, pet, or head rub can help ease some of the anxiety of being cooped up for too long a time.
Talk to your pets. While you aren’t talking to your two-legged co-workers, your four-legged ones can be good listeners.
Create a schedule with designated play times for your pet. Dogs and cats can be creatures of habit and they know their normal routine. Just ask any pet owner who has tried to sleep in on a weekend!
Even though you are working from home, it is important to set and maintain boundaries with your pets. If you start to give your pet attention every time they whine or cry you are letting them know this behavior gets them whatever they want. This can lead to symptoms of anxiety in your pet.
Older pets and particularly cats are be creatures of habit. Disruptions to routines that have been established for years can also lead to anxiety in your pets. Lack of exercise and social contact causes many pets to become bored and stressed. Pets also pick up on the mood and feelings of the people around them, so if you are anxious and stressed most of time, your pet is most likely to be as well. Common symptoms of anxiety in pets include:
- Excessive barking or meowing
- Whining and moaning
- Tremors or shivering
- Drooling and panting
- Poor appetite
- Excessive licking beyond grooming or chewing on the skin
- Yawning and licking the lips
- Hyperactivity or excitability
- Soiling the house or tearing up household items in your absence
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Inappropriately aggressive behavior
- Piloerection, i.e. the hair on the animal’s back raising up
Natural and homeopathic medicines offer relief for symptoms of stress and anxiety in pets without side effects. PetAlive® offers an all-natural homeopathic remedy to help ease anxiety in pets. PetCalm™ calms anxious, stressed and highly-strung pets, naturally. Available in granule form, PetCalm is easy to administer directly into your pets mouth or mixed with their food.
Behavior modification is also essential when managing your pet’s anxiety. Practicing positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior and avoiding excessive punishment are essential for changing a pet’s negative anxiety responses. With care and patience, it may be possible to desensitize an animal to some fearful situations. A healthy diet, plenty of water, regular exercise and loads of love and attention also contribute to the physical and emotional wellbeing of your pet.
Together we will get through this.