How to prepare pets as owners return to work

Thursday, 11 June 2020 15:25

How to prepare pets as owners return to work Featured

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(STILLWATER, Oklahoma, June 11, 2020) —  As the state enters the third phase of its reopening plan, OSU’s Dr. Sarah Peakheart has some advice for how pet owners can help their companions cope with change.

An assistant clinical professor at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Peakheart said change can be more stressful for some pets than for others. Puppies, kittens and newly adopted pets may be more prone to experience anxiety-related behavioral issues and illnesses. These pets don’t know there is a different “normal” than owners being home all day to engage with them. Senior pets and those with pre-existing anxiety disorders will also be less flexible.

Some signs of stress to watch for include changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns, increased activity, attention seeking and/or irritability, destructive behavior, house soiling or a new or recurring illness.

Create a special safe place with a crate, a room or a gated area. Cats will need a raised hiding/sleeping area, scratching posts and appropriate size (and number) of litter boxes. Rotate toys daily (puzzle treat toys are a great attention-getter for your pet).

Use pheromones to create a calming atmosphere — Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats.

Leave pets alone for short periods, slowly increasing the amount of time they spend alone.

Set and stick to a routine for feeding, walking and bedtime. Set a schedule you can keep when you return to work.

Spend time with them in the evenings as you would after returning to work. Leave the TV or radio on if they have become accustomed to background noise. Try iCalmPet, Spotify or YouTube for pet-specific music.

Talk to your veterinarian about nutritional and possibly pharmaceutical support. As always, if you see any symptoms that worry you, call your veterinarian. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital remains open to treat emergency cases. The hospital utilizes curbside admission and discharge procedures to protect clients and the college community.

To view Dr. Peakheart's video click HERE.


OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is one of 30 accredited veterinary colleges in the United States and the only veterinary college in Oklahoma. The college’s Boren Veterinary Medical Hospital is open to the public and provides routine and specialized care for small and large animals. The hospital offers 24-hour emergency care and is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association. For more information, visit or call (405) 744-7000.

Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 34,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 24,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 100 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 275,000 students to serve the state of Oklahoma, the nation and the world.

Last modified on Thursday, 11 June 2020 15:32
David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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