If, like so many people, you got a pet during lockdown, then you have some questions to answer now that we’re looking at the lifting of the remaining restrictions. It’s possible that by the end of this month, offices around the UK will once more be filling up with workers, and dogs, cats and other pets will have much less time with you than they’ve become used to. Today we’re looking at how you can prepare yourself and your lockdown pet for at least a partial resumption of normality.

Routines

Dogs and cats are creatures of routine, so if that routine is going to change, it’s best to do it gradually so they can adjust. If you’re going to be feeding or walking your pets at different times then you should start gradually dialling back their current feeding time towards the new one in regular increments. Sudden changes to diet and feeding routines can lead to upset stomachs, so it’s important to introduce your pet slowly back to normality.

If you’ve got a dog and you’re going to be walking them at a new time, then it’s worth trying that out well in advance. As well as getting your dog used to the new schedule, and making sure they’re ready to go when you are, it’s a good chance to make sure it works for you both. Areas can feel different at different times of day, and your perfect mid-morning dogwalk spot might feel very different at 6am, whether that’s because of traffic, other dog walkers, or other people (or even the absence of other people!). Make sure your favourite spots still work for you before you have to commit to them.

Attention and Attachment

Over the past year and longer, your pets will have had the chance to get used to having you around nearly all the time. Fortunately it’s possible to help them adjust to the changes they’ll experience when you get back to work in the office, but the sooner you start the better.

Dogs and cats can get used to spending longer by themselves (with cats adjusting more easily to even longer periods than dogs), but it’s safer and kinder not to throw them in at the deep end. Start small, and spend an hour or two away from your dog – even if it’s just sitting in the car reading or listening to the radio. Build them up slowly, make a big fuss of them when you return and your dog or cat will soon develop resilience to being away from you for a longer time.

Worries

If you’re worried about how your pet is reacting to the changes forced on us all by lockdown and the slow emergence from it, you should consult an online veterinarian or over the phone to get some advice and set your mind at rest.