Return to Office Causing Doggy Anxiety?
How CBD can help you and your pets!
As we enter the home stretch of 2021, and "WFH" begins its metamorphosis back into "Return to Office", pets may have as much or more trouble adjusting to the new normal than even us humans. The same pets who welcomed more time with their stay-at-home families, remote workers, and online students are now facing the end of summer breaks, return to the workplace, and back to in-person school days. Pets who were adopted during the pandemic, some who may have already come with their own emotional baggage, and some kittens and puppies who never needed to learn about alone time, may now present with even more complex issues relating to stress, anxiety, and boredom. People and animals may find they need help to cope and adjust to new routines.
Separation anxiety in dogs may manifest in a variety of ways: barking, whining, urinating, panting, pacing, fearfulness or depression, elevated heart rate, and any number of destructive or undesirable behaviors. Cats may show stress by excessive licking, hissing, and urinary tract complications. These issues may be the result of a previous, often unknown history, a change in domicile or schedule, or -- quite commonly -- a beloved human leaving the pet alone after a period of time spent together. Cue the long-awaited lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, return to work, school, and social activities, and pets everywhere may develop separation anxiety. A dog who was already prone to feeling anxious even when his person was out of sight for a short time, may be especially vulnerable. A kitty who enjoyed your company even when it seemed otherwise, may change its behavior. So, how can we help our pets when the boss says it's time to return to the office?
A few tips from AKC
Here are some steps you can take to ease your pup back into old routines. 
- Social distance from your dog: If your dog is constantly by your side, begin restoring a sense of independence. Encourage him to spend more time in his own bed, outside in a fenced yard by himself, or in his crate while you perform a task that draws your attention away from him. When your dog settles down and relaxes, wait a couple of minutes and then praise him and give him a treat.
- Work up to longer distances and periods of absence: Start by going into another room and leaving your dog alone for a few minutes. Gradually increase the amount of time your dog is left alone, while also working up to going outside without her. If your local restrictions or guidelines allow it, go on walks or long drives around the neighborhood without your dog to get her accustomed to you leaving home again.
- Ease back into your routine: A few days before you have to return to work outside the home, start getting up at the time you normally would and go through your normal morning routine, even leaving the house for a little while at the time you would normally leave for work. That way, it won't be as big a deal to your dog to see you go when the actual day arrives for your return to the outside world.
- Provide plenty of exercise: Give yourself enough time before you need to leave for the day to take your dog for a walk or engage in at least 15 minutes of vigorous play. This exercise will help your dog burn off excess energy and help him stay relaxed and calm throughout the day.
- Provide interactive toys: Safe puzzle and chew toys can help prevent your dog from getting bored and can also help comfort and distract her from other possible anxiety triggers, such as strange noises or activities happening outside.
- Don't be anxious for your dog: Dogs pick up on your mood and take their cues from their people about how they should feel about new situations. The more you stay relaxed and behave like everything is normal, the more likely your dog will be to follow your lead and accept when it's time for you to go.
How do I help with my pet's anxiety?
In addition to the helpful tips above from AKC, there are a few other ways you can help relieve the stress or boredom your pet experiences when left alone, and may help control the unwanted manifestations of anxiety and promote comfort and well being for your pet.
Make sure your dog gets as much exercise as possible when you are home -- before work or school, in the evenings, and on the weekends. If possible based on the distance between home and workplace, return during lunchtime or another break in your workday to take your dog for a walk or romp in the yard. If this isn't feasible, consider whether your dog might benefit from a mid-day dog walker or occasional doggy daycare. Daycare provides socialization, interaction, and supervised play for your pup, and many facilities offer additional services such as outdoor hikes, grooming, and online viewing of your dog's daily activities.
Some pets are happy to have free or limited access to roam about the house, while others feel more content in a secure and familiar pen, den, or crate. Young dogs and puppies should be secured in an appropriate enclosure with separate sleeping and pottying areas; however, pets of any age should never be left alone for undue lengths of time. Be especially careful not to leave any age pet with a toy or chew that can become a choking or digestive system hazard. A variety of "nanny cam" monitoring systems are available and affordable, and a great tool to keep an eye on your pet throughout the day and alert you to a potential need for intervention.
If you think you've tried everything, and your dog is still finding it difficult to cope with your days at the office, you may discover some helpful techniques by consulting with a professional dog trainer or veterinary behaviorist. Your veterinarian may help you determine whether a prescription medication may be indicated, or may suggest dietary changes or natural supplements that may offer some welcome relief. Recent experience and a growing amount of research suggests that cannabidiol, or CBD, a natural extract derived from the hemp plant, may provide an alternative to help pets -- as well as their humans -- adjust to the "Back to the Office Blues".
What CBD should I use for my pets?
Trove offers a full line of premium hemp-derived CBD products for people as well as animals, including dogs and cats. Trove Canine and Trove Feline products may prove helpful in relieving separation concerns and anxiety, reducing inflammation, addressing pain and soreness, increasing calm and focus for training and behavior modification, nurturing the skin and coat, and supporting the nervous, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and immune systems, proving particularly important for animals who are exhibiting signs of stress as a result of changes in their established routines.
But, all CBD pet products are not created equal. Not only are there different product types and formulations, there are also different strengths, concentrations, and contents. And not all products are tested and verified. So, in order to be sure about the quality and strength of the CBD you choose for your pet, start with a product that is tested for purity and concentration and offers a laboratory Certificate of Analysis to back it up. Know the product's CBD concentration per mL, and verify that package labeling accurately represents actual CBD content, not just a host of other cannabinoids, hempseed extracts, or other botanicals. And as added safety for your pet, choose a product that is THC free. Trove Canine CBD Oil 750 contains 750 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle; each 1 mL dropper (20 drops) contains 25 mg CBD. Trove Canine CBD Oil 300 contains 300 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle; each 1 mL dropper (20 drops) contains 10 mg CBD. Trove Feline CBD Oil 300 contains 300 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle; each 1 mL dropper (20 drops) contains 10 mg CBD. All Trove products are THC free, non GMO, and gluten free. Trove sources organically-grown USA hemp, and all products are triple tested and labeled with a QR code that links directly to the Certificate of Analysis for that batch. For more information and specific dosing guidelines, consult Trove packaging information, the Trove website, or contact us.
And if the thought of leaving your pet, the dreaded commute, or the mere idea of returning to the office has you feeling a bit stressed, consider the full line of THC-free, hemp-derived Trove CBD wellness products for people. Your pet will certainly appreciate a calmer and more focused human, and that will help them adjust, too!
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