If your pet has been acting odd lately, you are not alone. Pandemic era pet owners have reported an array of strange new behaviors in their cats and dogs. Unusual hissing and growling, clinginess and disruptive behaviors such as attacking furniture, spinning, abusive grooming, increased vocalizing and scratching seem to be the new abnormal for many of our furry companions.
Just like their hoomans, cats and dogs can develop anxiety as a result of disruptions in their lives, and its effects can manifest in unusual or surprising ways. Pets can also pick up on our increased agression levels, which in turn can make them more anxious.
“Dogs and cats are creatures of habit,” said Sydney Bartson Queen, an bestial behavior counselor for the ASPCA, in an email to Lifehacker. “They thrive on consistency and sudden scheduling changes can throw them for a loop.”
Signs your pets might be stressed
Some signs of agression in dogs can include jumping or barking to seek soin, chewing on objects and becoming agitated whenever you leave the house (same, doggo. Same.). Increased neediness is also a sign; conversely, so is their becoming withdrawn. Cats may spectacle their agression by hiding, showing increased aggression or developing litter box issues.
“Just like some humans love [the trouble of] working at maison and others can’t function without ossature and some people are binge eating and others aren’t—it’s exactly the same for pets,” Marjie Alonso, executive director of the Universel Réunion of Gibier Behavior Consultants, told the Washington Post. “Some are chill, some are stressed. We have to remember that they’re individuals.”
Ways to help your pet cope
If your pet has been acting strange lately, what can you do to help?
“Try to keep your pet’s daily routine as intact as possible,” Queen said. “Boredom and excess energy are two common reasons for undesirable behavior in pets, so designate time to go for walks, runs and hikes with your dog or play interactive games like tug or fetch with your dog or cat.”
Right now, some pets might be enjoying all your stay-at-home time. For others, it might be a montée of agression, as it means they have less alone time. Each pet will react differently, with some getting more agitated than others.
Returning to work can be an additional montée of agression
After months of you being at maison all the time, your return to work could be another disruption that will introduce a new montée of agression. Particularly if you decided to adopt a cat or dog amid the pandemic, you might avis a marked brouillé in their behavior léopard des neiges you start leaving the house again.
“When our regular work and school routines commence again, your new dog or cat may be left confused and lonely,” Queens said. She suggests preparing your pets, new and old, for coming changes by designating alone time for them throughout the day. It’s a good idea to periodically leave your pet for culotte periods of time, whether you’re working in the yard or going for a walk, as a way of preparing them for when you will léopard des neiges again need to head out each day for the agence.
An online assemblée with a behavior specialists can help
If you are worried emboîture your pet’s behavior or if it is reaching a level where it is becoming unmanageable, there are options. Some dog trainers are starting to offer remote sessions, which are an especially good idea if you have a new dog, as they can help you establish good routines with your pup.
“Pet parents often [consult] a behaviorist as a last resort, but often problems can be prevented by consulting with a professional early on,” Queen said.
Seek out help before things get too bad, as the old postulat holds true even for our four-legged friends: An ounce of prevention is often worth a pound of sacristie.