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How routine change due to COVID-19 can affect your pet’s behavior

National News

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Pet owners who don’t normally work from home may have noticed a change in their pet’s behavior.

According to Dr. Heidi Sutcliffe at Norwell Veterinary Hospital in Massachusetts, changes to our routines can be hard on pets.

Sutcliffe says dogs getting into things they shouldn’t like the trash, is a top complaint, though you might just be noticing your dog has pent up energy and it’s hard for them to settle down.

With the changes at home, Sutcliffe says some pets may enjoy the extra companionship, while others may want the space.

She says keeping your routine as consistent as possible, especially with eating schedules, will provide structure. Your behavior can also make an impact.

“They’re very in tune to your behavior, so if you can do your best to remain calm as possible in these trying times, then your animal will as well,” Sutcliffe said.

If you have a pet, Sutcliffe says to take advantage of the time you have at home to bond with them, but know it’s also important to spend at least an hour away from your pet, or they could develop separation anxiety.

Emma Dawley, director at Save One Soul Animal Rescue League in Wakefield, echoes the importance of a consistent, structured routine.

“We don’t know what the future holds, but this is kind of the new normal right now, so try to embrace it as best you can and get into a new routine that they can expect,” Dawley said.

She adds if you have an animal that can exercise outside, like a dog, to keep that up.

“So yes, while we’re supposed to be social distancing, you can still go outside with our own pets,” Dawley said.

Dawley adds some shelters and rescues are still in need of people who are willing to foster or adopt, but offers a word of caution if you’re looking for a companion during quarantine.

“When things change, either go back to how they were, or go back to some way of how they were, the dog still needs to be a priority,” Dawley said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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