By Robin Clutters

(CBS4) – Animal shelters saw a big increase in adoptions during the pandemic. Now, as more people begin returning to the workplace, their pets may not be ready for the change.

On CBSN Denver, we talked to Erin Wyse, a behaviorist from Denver Animal Protection. She says it’s likely the change in routine could be a shock to pets and will cause them to act out.

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“So there’s a few different behaviors we often see when animals are left alone. One of them might be destructive chewing or scratching, all things that are really natural and normal behaviors.”

Wyse says for cats, make sure they have plenty of appropriate places to scratch like a post or even some old cardboard. For dogs, she recommends leaving behind bones and plenty of chew toys.

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“Another behavior we often see is excessive vocalization,” says Wyse. “Increasing exercise and giving them lots of appropriate things to do while left alone can help.”

Wyse says if you know you’ll be going back to the office soon, now is the time to prepare your dog. Instead of immediately leaving your pet alone for a full 8 hours, work up to it.

“If your pet is not used to being left alone for more than a few hours, we want to start there. Then add another 30 or 60 minutes over the course of a few weeks until you get up to 8 hours.”

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If your dog shows extreme separation anxiety, you should talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of adding medication, or even working with a certified trainer.

Robin Clutters