Has your pet's behavior changed since before the era of COVID-19? If so, you're not alone! Some behavior changes might be due to the stress of confinement and the loss of old routines. Others might be due to your pet picking up on your own stress. Sometimes it can be hard to know what behavior changes are due to a physical health issue and which are purely behavioral or emotional.
As your pet's veterinarians we are here to help. Below are some resources related to behavior issues and concerns that are happening during this unprecedented time. We hope that you find them useful, but please know that if you need more personalized help you can always reach out to us via phone or email or telemedicine consultation request.
This is a great overview of some of the behavioral issues that owners and vets have been seeing in the past couple of months:
The team at Behavior Vets of NYC has put together some great free webinars to guide pet owners during the era of social distancing. They offer insights and tips for helping your pet to thrive during this unsettling time. For some pets, as it turns out, this strange new way of life offers an ideal opportunity to address existing behavior concerns! And for those of you with new puppies or fosters or adult adoptees, there are webinars and classes specifically targeted to you. Check out behaviorvetsnyc.com and click on the Virtual Services tab at the top.
The fearfreehappyhomes.com site has free information about keeping pets' minds and bodies exercised while at home, as well as on steps you can take now to prevent your dog from developing separation anxiety when you start spending more time outside of your home.
On a related note, since we started doing only drop-off appointments we have noticed that many of our patients are more nervous/anxious/fearful during their visits. This has been the case for patients that used to be slightly nervous during visits with their owners as well as for patients who had never before seemed nervous.
This development concerns us for two reasons. The first is that we don’t ever want our patients to have negative experiences at our hospital! The second is that nervousness during visits now will likely lead to more nervousness in the future, even once owners are able to accompany their pets into the clinic. And so begins a cycle that, for some pets, will lead to extreme nervousness and fear that impacts whether, how, and when they receive veterinary care.
We encourage all of our clients to think about whether your pet has been nervous during vet visits in the past, or whether you think they would be nervous during a separation from you. If so, please contact us at least a few days before your pet’s visit so that we can arrange for you to give a pre-visit calming medication or supplement to your pet. We are happy to discuss these medications and supplements with you and to offer advice about how to make your pet's drop-off visit easier on them. Being proactive about managing nervousness now can help spare your pet from developing a deep fear of veterinary care in the future.