(Photo - Chewy on Unsplash)

The Valley Humane Society is urging pet owners to prepare their “furry companions” for the day when the COVID-19 pandemic is over and people are no longer spending as much time at home.

The humane society noted in a news release that many pets have grown accustomed to having people around most of the time because limits on work, school, and travel. In addition, animal shelters experienced a boom in pet adoptions as people sought companionship during the lockdown.

“As we prepare to return to the office and pre-pandemic activities, we must also prepare our loyal companions,” according to the humane society.

The humane society suggests four ways to help avoid stress and separation anxiety for pets: Avoid high-energy play and maintain a “calm, neutral atmosphere” for 10 to 15 minutes before leaving and when returning. “We know it’s very hard, but it is best to simply ignore your pet,” according to the humane society.

Experiment with long-lasting treats and creative feeding methods, such as food-dispensing toys and food puzzles. “Once you find their favorites, only give it to them before departing the home. This will keep it extra special and help your pet look forward to being left alone.”

Practice alone time, even if it’s only being in a different room. Vary the length of time, beginning with 5 to 10 minutes, as well as the time of day.

Crate training. The humane society says crate training “is an excellent way to provide your dog with safety and a sense of security when left alone, while avoiding behaviors like destructive chewing or inappropriate toileting.”

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