Whilst the Chinese zodiac for 2022 is Year of the Tiger, for many of us it feels more like the year of the RAT - Rapid Antigen Test. COVID-19 has clearly dominated the forefront of our minds and conversations for the past couple of years. And, as many of us negotiate a return-to-work schedule, it seems the remote office is here to stay. I can hear all the dogs expressing a quiet cheer, as their owners continue to utilise the home office as their workspace. And for many of us, a continuation of the pyjama work uniform is a much-welcomed choice of attire!
The rise of separation anxiety in dogs
When we began returning to work in dribs and drabs last year, separation anxiety in dogs became a hot topic. My top tips on how to prepare your dog to be without you, as you return to a sense of ‘normality’ was in high demand. Dogs had spent the best part of two years alongside us each day, and then they were thrust into a routine long forgotten, where they were left alone for hours each day. Normality for our dogs was vastly different to ours and it has been a true challenge to help dogs grasp how to cope with a pandemic they are completely unaware of.
New challenges we face with our pets
But there is a new challenge we now face, as the Omicron variant takes hold and leaves a large portion of us testing positive, and home isolation becoming increasingly common. COVID-19 is touching us all with its crown and so, it continues to have an impact on not only our own mental and physical health but that of our dogs, too. Routines in our lives have been uprooted to the point where we truly are not sure what each day will bring. And if we are unsure, how on earth can our dogs feel safe and secure under our guardianship?
Throughout this year, you may find the need to isolate for a short period of time as you recover, or those close to you heal from the virus. Although this may only be a week for most of us, it is a period of time where we need to be aware of our dog’s overall health too. So, if you find yourself at home in isolation, take some time to provide these bare necessities for your beloved pooch.
Top 7 ways to do isolation with your dog stress and anxiety-free!
1. Provide consistency
Even if the week of isolation leaves you feeling out of sorts, make your dog’s day predictable. Keep things on schedule, and create a positive routine for that week
2. Control what you can
Make the most of what you can control. Isolation may not be in your control, but you can ensure your dog has food, water, shelter, love and purpose. These are essentials to all living beings and your dog needs to know they have access to all of these each day.
3. Teach your dog a new trick
If you’re feeling a little under the weather, you can still exercise your dog’s brain. Teach them to fetch a face towel for you, or collect your pjs from the bedroom. Get creative, and make the most of the week you have together. I promise that your dog will adore learning something new with you.
4. Reduce your screen time and engage with your dog
Scrolling on social media and news outlets cannot possibly improve our mental health, so take time out each day, go screen-free and play with your dog. Just a few minutes here and there is guaranteed to make you both feel better!
5. Move as best you can
Try to encourage your dog to exercise in the home if you cannot take them off the property. A great way to do this is to regularly hide their food/treats around the house. Teach your dog to search for them and use this food as part of their daily intake.
6. Practice mindfulness
Each day, just sit and be. Your dog does this very successfully, so observe them and mimic their mindset when they are relaxed. Focus on your breathing and listen to theirs. Take the time to exist in the now and let go of the day’s stress.
7. Consider additional nutrition
Consider ZamiPet’s range of supplements, including the ZamiPet Relax & Calm breakable chew. With L-Theanine, L-Tryptophan, Valerian Root and Chamomile, you can help to support a healthy nervous system and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
The information in this article was checked by ZamiPet Veterinarian and General Manager Dr Andrew McKay, BVSc, University of Melbourne, 2000. Vet Registration No: V3985
Disclaimer: This information is general advice only. Before starting any treatment or supplement with your pet, please consult your vet first for the best approach to getting your pet back to their best health.