As the world entered the large scale lockdowns we saw over the news in the year 2020, people were forced into their homes and were faced varying degrees of difficulties where they had to deal with children, manage their work, set up “home-offices”, and adjust to the virtual way of life. On the other hand, pets enjoyed a gala time now that their owners were home for most of the day. During this era of social distancing the pets have never been merrier. Just as humans are social beings so are their pets and the last year has seen a huge increase in the bonding between the pets and their owners. An article in the NBC New York mentions about a company Mira-Pet who conducted a survey found that of the respondents, 73% had improved mental health during the lockdown, 26% of Indiana residents are fearing separation anxiety when they return to work and 38% are thinking of continuing to work from home to spend more time with their pets even if it means risking a pay cut. The percentage of those who said they were distracted by their pets stood at a mere 17% which clearly speaks volumes about the emotional bond that exists between the owners and their pets. COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc all over the world with the number of infections and deaths continuously rising, however, on the flip side the bond between the humans and their pets has become a lot more stronger than what it was before the virus struck humanity. Many dog breeders also reported a huge influx of requests for all types of puppies because of the lockdown measures in place and people figured the best way to avoid loneliness was to have a pet that would provide the company. Speaking of dogs, the relationship between humans and dogs goes back thousands of years and today dogs are part of the human family. We all have seen them being driven in cars, playing with kids, walking or running with adults and following instructions from humans.
Although, we are eagerly waiting for the world to return to normal like the pre-COVID-19 time, and whenever this actually happens will in turn lead to a temporary period of sadness, separation anxiety and depression for those with pets. Just as much as the humans would feel these emotions so will their pets and will come with its own set of consequences. Are humans ready to deal with such circumstances? The bigger problem will be how their pets deal with such scenarios because after all if the pet is not trained to deal with anxiety issues then they will naturally express their emotions by looking for ways to escape that surrounding and that in turn will mean causing self harm or disobedience. Of course in the case of dogs there are professional dog trainers who can address these concerns and recommend an appropriate course of action. Other pets also exhibit such similar anxiety behaviors and in doing so leave visual cues that are not very pleasant to the human sight. I am sure you can imagine some of those things and can relate to such incidents.
The pets don’t really have plenty of options to choose from to deal with separation anxiety because they are at the mercy of humans who own them. On the other hand, humans have numerous ways to deal with anxiety issues whether it is for their pets or it is themselves who are affected. Just as pets are keen observers, we also need to observe their behaviours and look for those cues that could potentially indicate stress patterns. Training your pets to stay by themselves for longer durations without you can also help both you and your pets to stay away from each other. I have also seen some pet lovers who show their love for their pets by way of using everything pet themed in their lives - Yes, I am talking about pet keychains, coffee mugs with their dog’s or cat’s names, favorite pet photos on screensavers, pet themed clothes and the list goes on. These objects can trigger a loving memory of their pets or it can also be a very good topic for a quick chat when someone else spots one of these objects on you and casually asks you about your pet. Pet ownership is certainly on the rise and a lot of scientific studies have shown that owning a pet has uplifted the well-being of their owners.