Bay Area veterinarian offers tips to prepare your pets for your return to work

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Working and learning from home over the past year has had a big impact on the whole family, including the family pets.

More time with their humans has made for some very happy dogs and cats.

But with restrictions loosening, and schools and offices reopening, pets are going to have to adjust.

Throughout the pandemic organizations like the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, saw a massive increase in pet adoptions.

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"The only life that they know is being home during shelter-in-place or during the pandemic where the family is home 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Humane Society of Silicon Valley Chief of Shelter Medicine Dr. Cristie Kamiya said. "They don't know a life pre-pandemic where people have to go to work. So, that can be a really difficult transition."

Pets in general may face separation anxiety.

Dr. Cristie Kamiya says this is especially prevalent with dogs.
Practicing that separation and associating it with something positive is a great way to help them face their anxieties.

"Anytime I leave the room or anytime I leave them alone, they get a special toy," Dr. Kamiya said. "It's just one of those puzzle toys with the treats on the inside, like peanut butter or jerky-like treats, something that is really highly valued. But, it's a treat that they only get when you're not there."

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Other tips include slowly increasing your time that you are away, hiring a dog-walker or speaking with your vet for medical options because if your dog or pet has continued anxiety, it could lead to future issues.

"You may not know that they're having an issue until your neighbor comes to tell you that your dog is barking for about 15 minutes after you leave the house and things like that," Dr. Kamiya said. "Once you do recognize, the important thing is to take some steps to help mitigate that."


For more information on a return-to-work plan for your pet, visit the Humane Society Silicon Valley website here.

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