Our pets will miss us when we return to work. Here's how to prep them for it

There is plenty of joking these days that our pets are the biggest beneficiaries of stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. With many families sheltering in place , signs in windows proclaim, “At least our dogs are happy!”

But what happens when we start returning to work and school?

Janelle Metiva, certified professional dog trainer and dog behavior specialist for the nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society , said separation anxiety can potentially become an issue for pets. “If the dog is used to that constant attention and suddenly it goes away, that huge, abrupt change could definitely cause them some big initial panic,” she told TODAY. “We have to do prep work now so that it’s not such an extreme transition.”

Reduce Stress. Dr. Becker notes, “The key is to reduce anxiety triggers.” If you have a vet visit, “don’t get the carrier out the night before,” give them a few days to get prepared. If they’re nervous alone or travelling, play soothing music, or draw the shades. The less stimulus pets receive from the outside world, the less anxiety they’ll have about events outside their control.