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Pets post lockdown

Behaviour, Family, Pets

Behaviour Bites with

Dr Ash Hargreaves BSc DVM MANZCVS (Veterinary behaviour)

Providing Veterinary behaviour education and services across rural Australia through Fur Life Vet clinics.

Separation anxiety

Let’s take a moment to consider the the mental health of our pets as we return to work and school as the COVID-19 restrictions ease and we emerge from lockdown,

Many pets will have loved having their people at home with them more during COVID restrictions. Some pets will have had extra time for company and pats at home, extra play and numerous extra walks and outings in their daily routine.

Now as restrictions ease and we all start heading back to our “new normal” our pets too will have to adjust to new routines of their own.

The media has played a part in raising concern over how our pets will cope with this new change to their lives as many will return to spending significant hours home alone during the working week, and whether or not we will see a rise in behaviour problems as a result of this.

The reality is, that the majority of pets are rather resilient and should cope just fine going back to their old routines and spending more time alone. However, there will be a number of pets who may be at a higher risk of struggling to cope with their new routine than others.

It may be that these pets have never spent large amounts of time on their own, especially if they are a young pet that has become a part of the family not long before or during COVID restrictions. The other group of pets that will likely struggle with these changes will be the pets that have an underlying mental health disorder, such as separation anxiety.

All pets, but especially these more at-risk pets, will benefit from making the transition to their new routine as slow and as smooth as possible. The following recommendations outline just how you can do this for your pet.

1.

Make the transition slow

Rather than suddenly leave your pet home alone for hours every day, try and make the transition slow if this is a possibility for your household.

For example:

  • If everyone doesn’t have to go back to work at once, then stagger their return
  • If you can work from home for a few days, then continue to do so rather than go straight to a full 5 day week at work
  • If you can start with shorter shifts or come home during lunch breaks try to do so for the initial transition.

Give pets things to keep them interested and focused, to prevent them from using their energy in more destructive ways.

  • Rather than feed your pet from a bowl, feed them from food puzzles such as Kong’s or other interactive feeders, you can scatter their food around or leave a treasure hunt by hiding it in multiple places.
  • Give your dog a bone if they are used to having them or another safe object to chew on such as an antler or chew toy.
  • Leave out toys your pet may like to play with and then rotate these each day.

2.

Give your pets plenty of things to do

2.

Give your pets plenty of things to do

Give pets things to keep them interested and focused, to prevent them from using their energy in more destructive ways.

  • Rather than feed your pet from a bowl, feed them from food puzzles such as Kong’s or other interactive feeders, you can scatter their food around or leave a treasure hunt by hiding it in multiple places.
  • Give your dog a bone if they are used to having them or another safe object to chew on such as an antler or chew toy.
  • Leave out toys your pet may like to play with and then rotate these each day.

3.

Keep a routine as much as possible

Keep to a routine time for:

  • walks
  • play
  • bed and
  • feeding times

For dogs, this will mean they know when to expect their next walk or exercise, and they should quickly learn that outside of these times when you are at work, is a good time to rest.

If you are suspicious that your pet is not coping when they are left alone or they become very agitated when you go to leave, try and get footage of your pet when alone. Set up an old smart-phone or tablet to record, or by asking a neighbour to keep an eye on them for you.

 

Your Fur Life Vet should be your first point of call if you are concerned about your pet experiencing separation anxiety or any other behavioural problems.

As true separation anxiety is a mental health disorder, the condition will not improve with time, but rather get worse if left untreated.

How to enter

Simply share a photo on your Facebook page of your dog rugged up for winter or enjoying the winter sunshine and use the hashtag relevant to your state.

What you can win

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined prize. Each prize includes a winter pet pack to the value of $100.

Click on your state to reveal the hashtag you need to use to enter!

QLD Residents

Share a photo of your dog enjoying the winter sunshine or snoozing in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetQLD

VIC Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetVIC

NSW Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetNSW

TAS Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetTAS

Terms & Conditions

Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these conditions. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these conditions. Entries must comply with these conditions to be valid.

Entry is open to Australian residents that meet the competition requirements outlined below during the Competition period 1 June 2022 – 31 August 2022. Employees and their immediate families of the Promoter and its agencies associated with this competition are ineligible to enter.

To enter, each entrant must, during the Entry Period, upload a photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile) and use the hashtag corresponding to the state they are in (e.g. #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS).

Winner of the competition will be determined by:

  1. Appropriate photo uploaded (photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile)
  2. Relevant hashtag used (state residing in: #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS)
  3. Number of likes (photo with highest number of likes at end of competition period with all other criteria completed will win)

The competition will close for entries Wednesday, 31 August 2022 at 12:00pm [AEST]. Failure to meet any of the competition requirements will deem entry invalid and will not be eligible to win.

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined.

 

Competition requirements:

Entrants must be a current client of a participating Apiam/Fur Life Vet clinic.

Entries must be received by the Promoter during the Entry Period. Entries received after 12:00pm [AEST] 31 August 2022 not be accepted.

The competition commences at 00:01 [AEST] on 01/06/2022 and closes at 12:00 [AEDT] 31/08/2022.

Queensland prize includes a pet pack to the value of $100.00.

Victorian, New South Wales, and Tasmanian prize includes two separate pet packs to the value of $100.00.

All taxes (excluding GST) which may be payable as a consequence of receiving a prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.

The Prize is not transferable and is not redeemable for cash.

The Promoter assumes no responsibility for any failure to receive an entry or for inaccurate information or for any loss, damage or injury as a result of technical or telecommunications problems, including security breaches. If such problems arise, then the Promoter may modify, cancel, terminate or suspend the competition.

If the prize becomes unavailable for reasons beyond the Promoter’s control, the Promoter may substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

The winner will be notified by email on or by 10/09/2022.

Entrants consent to the Promoter using their name, images submitted, pets name, comment, and/or voice in the event that they are a winner in any media for an unlimited period of time without remuneration for the purpose of promoting this competition (including any outcome), as well as any other communications outside of this competition, and/or promoting any products manufactured, distributed and/or supplied by the Promoter. If you are not willing for these uses or disclosures to occur you cannot participate in the competition.

Further, entrants agree that the Promoter has an unrestricted, irrevocable, transferable, divisible right and licence to use and modify their entry for the purposes of the Promoter’s business including for promotional purposes without the payment of any further fee or compensation.

If requested by the Promoter, the entrant agrees to sign any further documentation required by the Promoter to give effect to this arrangement. To the extent permitted by law, entrants unconditionally and irrevocably consent to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe any moral rights in their entry. Entries remain the property of the Promoter. Details from entries will be collected and used for the purposes of conducting this competition (which may include disclosure to third parties for the purpose of processing and conducting the competition) and for promotional purposes surrounding this competition. By entering this competition entrants consent to the use of their information as described and agree that the Promoter may use this information, or disclose it to other organisations that may use it, in any media for future promotional purposes without any further reference or payment to the entrant.

By entering this competition, entrants consent for the Promoter to use entrant’s name, email address, phone number which entrants submitted to enter for the purposes of administering and operating the competition. Entry is conditional on the Promoter acquiring the aforementioned information. All personal information collected by the Promoter will be handled by the Promoter in accordance with the Promoter’s privacy policy (PRIVACY) Entrants have the right to access their personal information, request correction of any errors and/or obtain a copy of the Promoter’s privacy policy by contacting getvetchecked@furlifevet.com.au.

The Promoter is Apiam Animal Health Pty Limited (ACN: 604 961 024) at 27-33 Piper Lane East Bendigo, 3550, Victoria, Australia.

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