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More people are working from home now than ever. They get to bond closely with their pets because they are with them most of the time. Pets can become dependent on this extra bonding time and then have separation anxiety when their family member leaves to run errands. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make this less taxing on your furry friends.


The largest complaint by far from pet owners is that their pets are destructive when left alone at home. Urinating, defecating, barking, chewing, howling, and digging are all symptoms of distress in a dog. Cats that are litter box trained can also be disruptive and refuse to use the litter box when you leave the home. These actions are signs of separation anxiety that your pet experiences because you leave them alone.


When your pets become accustomed to you being with them most of the time because you are working from home, they may display this displeasure with you when you leave the house. This can occur just minutes after you walk out the door or before you even leave.

Separation anxiety can be caused by a change in the family or their guardian, such as when a new baby arrives or a family member moves out.

Changes in your schedule can upset your pets, such as leaving them alone at different times or for longer amounts of time. This commonly occurs when working from home for an extended amount of time and then suddenly going back into the office for work.


It can help to provide your pooch or kitty with some interactive toys to play with so they can play independently from you. Physically and mentally stimulating toys help the most, so they can be tired out and not think about being disruptive when you leave them alone. Kong-type toys can be stuffed with doggie or kitty treats, and then your pet has to work at it to get them out. For dogs, peanut butter is great in this instance because it takes a long time to lick it all out of the toy.

The counterconditioning method of training includes giving your pets these treats when you leave home and picking them up when you get home. Your pet will realize that your leaving is associated with something fun and appetizing.

You can also leave the house for a short period of time of only a few minutes and then come back. Extend the amount of time you do this each time and your dog or cat should realize that you will be coming back.

If you aren’t sure why your pet is acting like this when you leave, you should consult a veterinarian at Sunnyside Pet Hospital to rule out any medical issues that may be causing disruptive behaviors.