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The UK is a nation of animal lovers and we have seen pet ownership soar during the pandemic. Our pets have offered much-needed companionship throughout this challenging time, but as lockdown restriction ease, many pets will be spending more time alone. This understandably raises an important question; how can we help them cope alone?

Here are TVM’s top tips!

Plan ahead

your current circumstances and how things will change going forward. This is important to identify the small steps that will be involved in getting your pet to feel confident and comfortable spending greater time without you around. For example, if your pet has become accustomed to spending every day in the same room with you, the first step would be getting your pet used to being in a different room to you whilst you are both at home.

Gradual changes

Sudden changes in routine can be disruptive and stressful for our pets. By avoiding abrupt changes, we can help our pets gain confidence and become accustomed without becoming anxious.

Environmental enrichment

Make sure time alone isn’t boring for your pet, as this will make them pine for your company even more. Provide stimulation through puzzle toys and enriched feeders. If you need to leave your pet alone for periods greater than 4 hours, then it is strongly recommended to get someone to visit, such as a dog walker. This provides enrichment (social interaction and physical exercise), the opportunity to go to the toilet, refill water bowls and replenish food in enriched feeders.

Behaviour support:

There are many products that can help support your pet during this time, such as pheromones or nutraceuticals. These work in different ways and sometimes can be used in combination.

If you are worried about your pet or think they have or might be developing separation anxiety, seek veterinary advice to find out more.