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Fear, Anxiety, And Stress In COVID Puppies

Fear, Anxiety, And Stress In COVID Puppies

Fear, anxiety, and stress in COVID puppies is something we keep hearing about.

It’s been a significant two years for everyone; there’s no doubt about it. Substantial changes in workplace practices, implementation of lockdown and restrictions, schooling from home, and overall life as we had once known have been altered.

The drastic changes that the pandemic implemented caused a complete restructure of social norms, culture, and activities. With social distancing measures in place for months on end, a new trend was introduced among American households nationwide to the pandemic puppy.

What is The Pandemic Puppy?

You probably have known someone who either adopted or purchased a pet or had a baby during the midst of lockdown. Lockdown loneliness was a real issue generated from the impact of COVID’s restriction on travel, work, and social activity in the U.S. The separation of a colonial society into the confinement of their homes saw the U.S. pet industry almost double, with forecasts expected to see it reach $110 billion by the end of 2021. 

Using pets to prevent loneliness was applied to those buying new and adopting new pets and to those with pets already in their homes. 

According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in 2019, 67% of U.S. households owned at least one pet before the pandemic. The confinement of COVID causing stay-at-home orders resulted in 70% of these pet-loving families spending more time with their pets and adding new pets to the family.

Overall, the impact of social distancing saw that pets, with most of those being dogs, really did live up to the saying of “man’s best friend.” These behaviors have been no shock to researchers, with The Australian Veterinary Journal revealing that those who previously owned or purchased pets during the pandemic had improved levels of mental health, increased quality of life, and decreased levels of loneliness. 

So, with restrictions lifting, countries borders reopening, and life looking like it’s about to go back to a “new normal,” what’s going to be the impact on our pets, old and new?

What Is FAS?

FAS is the Fear Free term for the varying negative emotional states of distress and panic that prompt survival-based fight-or-flight responses in pets. 

  • Fear is an aversive emotional state consisting of physical & psychological responses to a real threat or danger. Fear could come at the cause of something they see, hear, smell, feel, or otherwise experience.
  • Anxiety is a generalized feeling of apprehension or anticipation of danger or threat (before the fear-evoking stimulus arrives). What if or oh no response when anticipating what danger is to come next.
  • Stress is the state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. The body reacts to an actual threat, perceived threat, or trauma. 

Unfortunately, fear, anxiety, stress, or FAS, is a real issue that has become more prominent over the 18-months. In addition, pets, old and new, have come to associate our working-from-home as a regular part of their routine, with sudden changes, such as going back to the office, having the potential to cause significant stress on them.

How Has COVID Impacted Our Involvement With Our Pets?

Gone are the days when we could leave our homes, and our new pets were left feeling safe and secure in the safety of their own home.

FAS can stem into profound physical implications for not only your pets but for your home. For example, excessive barking and scratching, unpredicted bowel movements, trembling, depression, and destructive behaviors have all been linked to FAS. 

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to mitigate and prevent FAS from developing or getting progressively worse. 

  • Early intervention is critical in preventing FAS – slowly removing yourself from your pet’s daily routine in small increments allows them to get used to periods apart from you. Whether running a quick errand or doing short periods of work at local coffee shops or libraries in the lead-up to you heading back to the office can help tremendously.
  • Hire a trainer. Puppy training is a simple but effective form of prevention and intervention. Whether in-home private sessions or board and training, puppy training allows you and your puppy to learn skills and behaviors to prevent and mitigate FAS.
  • Set your puppy up for success. Before you leave the house, be sure your puppy has had adequate exercise and playtime. Allow them the proper amount of time to use the bathroom too. Crate them to allow them protection from getting into trouble and a safe space for them to feel confident and comfortable. Offer them interactive toys to alleviate boredom, but don’t forget- never leave anything in their crate that they can chew, destroy, and or swallow!

Remember, pets are very similar to your children and need emotional, nurturing, and taught skills to mature into a well-rounded adult dogs. So, give your pet the love and time they deserve. Then, in the long run, you both will be happy!

Looking for a Puppy Trainer? We’ve got you covered. Contact us to learn more about our private and board and training services, as well as our Puppy 101 Classes! https://miamipetconcierge.com/dog-training/

*Miami Pet Concierge is a Fear Free Certified Professional organization.

 

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