As we welcome the month of July, we slowly see the world returning to normality. Cue the first Saturday of the month and lockdown life as we knew it will gradually become a distant memory as streets become full of laughter and life once again. The excitement of deciding which restaurant to book, which pub to visit and where to order your first “proper” coffee is a current novelty. However, it is no doubt that after four months of lockdown there will be mixed responses to these changes, particularly from our beloved pets.
With many of us now able to resume working in the office, we must not forget the time that we have been able to share with our families and furry friends. As discussed in our previous blog post, separation anxiety will be all too common within the pet world across the coming months, so we must all take extra steps to put our pets at as much ease as possible.
Pets in Public Places
In particular, dogs may experience a stressful transition as their senses become overwhelmed with familiar sights, smells and noises once again - they too will be reunited with their pet pals! With this having been said, it is important to keep your dogs as calm as can be when you are taking them out on their walks. It could be advisable to introduce them to large groups of people gradually, as opposed to all at once. Perhaps this means avoiding the busiest public places, or walking them outside of peak hours. However, where it does get busier, it would be sensible to keep them on a lead so that they know where you are in case they do become overwhelmed with their surroundings.
Familiarising Dogs to Face Masks
Another note of importance is to consider the effect that people wearing face masks may have upon your pooch. Some dogs may be okay with this change; others may become disconcerted as they find themselves unable to read the facial expressions of others - a strong emotional indicator to our pets. Before approaching such an environment with your dogs, it is advisable to prepare them for such encounters. Calming products such as Adaptil, comfort vests and treats containing calming ingredients can be great at helping to keep our pets calm and relaxed during stressful times.
A gradual process, this will involve familiarising them with those communicating whilst wearing a mask, rewarding them with their favourite treats throughout the process. This will begin with the covering of your mouth with your hand, before covering your mouth with your hand and then speaking. As they adapt to this change, you can then wear a physical mask and undergo the same practice. Once they have become used to you communicating with a mask on your face, you must then repeat the process with other members of your household. This will introduce the idea that this is the new normal and will avoid your dogs becoming too disrupted by this change when they are in public places again.