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Life after lockdown for your family pets

 

All facts in this blog were provided by experts in The Vet Connection who look after the An Post Insurance 24 hour pet helpline.

Times are changing, as the kids go back to school and many of us are heading back to the office for the first time in months. But what about our furry friends?

Dogs are sociable animals. Throughout history they’ve always lived in packs or ‘family’ groups and if they had the choice, would prefer this way of living. Cats, on the other hand are more independent and rarely suffer from separation anxiety.  Most dogs should cope with being left alone for a few hours – particularly if they’ve been brought up this way from a young age – but others may struggle with the change. Our pets have been used to having their human family at home with them for quite a while, so this step will be a big adjustment for them. 

If you have gotten a new puppy in the family recently, be sure to check out these puppy proofing tips for your home.

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Signs to look out for

 If you notice any of the following signs, then your pet could be suffering from separation anxiety:  

  • Your pet follows you from room to room when you are at home and becomes anxious when they cannot see you.  
  • They become distressed when you prepare to leave the house.   
  • They are elated when you return home.  
  • They show any of these physiological symptoms in relation to being on their own: panting, pacing, salivating/drooling, drinking excessively, increased heart rate, increased respiration rate and a need to go to the toilet.   

There is no quick fix, but with time and patience you can make your pet feel less worried and more relaxed when they are on their own.

 Tips to help dogs cope

  • Choose a quiet, safe space for your dog to be left in while you are not in the house. 
  • If your dog hasn’t been crated before, introducing a cage at this stage may cause more stress, so best to use stair gates to create barriers.
  • Have a comfortable bed, with water and food bowls and maybe a radio for company – if your dog is a chewer remember to ensure these items are safe for them.
  • Leaving something with your smell on it can help to give your dog a sense of security and maybe also use a pheromone diffuser. 
  • If you have a few days when you know you will be home and not have to leave the dog for too long, introduce him or her to their safe area. Throughout the first day randomly pop your dog in their safe area with a chew or filled Kong toy (chewing is a calming activity for a dog) and stay close but go about your business for a few minutes, then open the gate and the dog can choose to come out or stay with their chew toy. Build this up over the next few days to longer sessions when you go out of sight occasionally and eventually you should be able to leave the house knowing you have a calmer dog at home.  

 Tips to help cats cope

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  • Try using a Feliway Classic pheromone diffuser.
  • Make a safe, comfortable place for them to hide – either up high or in a box.
  • Start going out for very short periods of time and build this up slowly.   

In some instances, for both cats and dogs, you may need specialised advice depending on how extreme the signs are – if you think this is the case it’s always better to speak to your vet before contacting a behaviourist.   

As your furry friend been experiencing tummy troubles? Check out this expert's advice on how to treat tummy upsets in cats and dogs.

An Post Insurance Pet Insurance includes a 24 hour helpline, which is operated by The Vet Connection 365 days a year and gives policy holders access to their national network of Royal College of veterinary surgeons.  Policy holders can call one of their Registered Veterinary Nurses on 076 888 7804 for advice at any time.

If you’re in the market for Pet Insurance, why not get a quote today by clicking on the link below.

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An Post Insurance Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by Blue Insurance Limited and underwritten by H.W. Kaufman Group Europe BV, trading as Cranbrook, on behalf of the insurer, Sava Insurance Company.

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