It was during the covid-19 induced lockdown that Malini Agarwal, founder and creative director, MissMalini Entertainment, became a pet parent for the first time. With both Agarwal and her husband working from home during this period, little Mylo had lots of company. The living room area transformed into a play area, of sorts. “Our trainer, Devanshi, worked with us extensively on Zoom on things like potty training,” she says. However, now with the unlock guidelines being followed and people heading out of home for work, the three-month-old puppy is being trained to live without his parents for short spans of time. “Friends come in to puppy sit. We are doing a lot of positive reinforcement. Socialising is very important for pets, so we are looking at playdates sometime in the coming days,” explains Agarwal.
Vets are noticing a rising issue of separation anxiety in pets, mainly because pets had gotten used to having their parents around them all the time during the lockdown. “A few pets are not eating, or are being fussy about the food. They keep waiting at the door for the humans to return, and can be found biting, chewing household items, throwing up or barking constantly,” says Dr Anjali Singh, chief veterinary officer, Wiggles.in. Some other behavioural changes include refusal to be trained, peeing constantly, crying out loud or being a “couch pawtato”. “We have also noticed pets getting aggressive, growling or getting possessive of their pet parents,” she adds.
However, pet parents need not despair. Vets suggest simple ways in which you can help your pets through this difficult phase. For instance, like Agarwal, you too could help your pet socialise, while following the safety norms. “Pet parents must begin with a short walk around the neighbourhood either early morning or late evening when it’s less crowded. Use a pet sanitiser on your pet’s paws and coat once you are back from the walk to keep infections at bay,” suggests Singh. A routine should be set for walks and meal times to help them bounce back. Daycare or a pet boarding could also be an option to ensure that pets get used to staying away from their owners once in a while.
A visit to the vet for vaccinations or a spa for grooming could help get the pets back in shape. “Nutritious wet food with the right mix of meat and veggies, along with lots of water, will help them get back to being their usual self,” says Singh. And in case you are travelling, make sure that their routine is not hampered and they are able to continue with walks and meals on time, with another human they can trust. “Follow this routine without fail and this will help bring back the giggles in the house.