COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Many South Carolinians have adopted a new pet during the pandemic.
But as you’re starting to get out and about more for work, eating in restaurants, or attending events, your pup may be saying, “wait, don’t leave me!”
The Pet Vet is here to help!
Dr. Wendy King runs Spears Creek Veterinary Clinic and is offering several tips to help with pet separation anxiety.
Q: What kind of increase are you seeing in the number of pets adopted during the pandemic?
A: “An amazing increase and I don’t have exact numbers but just to tell you, a lot of people are adopting right now. They’re also buying some pure breeds but a lot of people [are] adopting.”
Q: What makes that bond so strong between a human and a dog?
A: “Well it’s documented really, really well the bond between the humans and the pets. But the biggest thing that I think is that it makes us focus on something other than ourselves. So if we’re feeling sorry because we locked up in this whole pandemic thing and were in our houses shut in at least we can focus on the pet. And we can take the pet for a walk, we can bond with them, they can decrease blood pressure. It’s amazing all the benefits of having a pet.”
Q: What are ways to deal with separation anxiety?
A: “So, a lot of pets that I’m seeing right now are going through separation anxiety. If the owners are going back to work this dog that use to be well behaved is all of a sudden freaked out because the owners are no longer around. I encourage people to bring the crate back out. A lot of the dogs were crate trained before the pandemic and then all of a sudden the owners have been at home so they shove the crate to the side saying ‘oh I don’t need to put my dog in the crate’. But you need to bring it back out and say ‘hey this is apart of your life, this is your safe place, this is your happy place, this is the place that you’ll be protected when I’m not around. And you need to use it 4 times a day for around 10 minutes even if you’re going to be at home just to give your dog a break from you for the day. When you leave for the grocery store you should put the dog in the crate for 10 minutes before you leave and you ignore them. You can not pet them and tell them how much you love them and are going to miss them because your just building up on that anxiety.”
Q: For someone still wanting to adopt, what local agencies would you like to recommend? (I know there are several, so which ones do you work with that you’d like to highlight?)
A: I have several that I work with that don’t adopt locally but then I have some that work with like SQ Rescue and Danny and Ron’s Rescue. But also don’t forget, now is a great time to get a cat. Cat Around Town project is a good one and so is Whisker Tales Rescue. You can get a kitten, you can watch it, it can entertain you and you then when you go back to work it’ll entertain itself.