(WKBN) – As we continue to move back to a pre-pandemic way of life, experts warn our dogs might be adversely affected if and when we inevitably return to the office.

People were stuck working from home, causing pet adoption rates to soar during the pandemic. Especially during early lock down, people just needed a companion.

Those newly adopted pets are used to always having their owners around. But as people return to work they are noticing stress or separation anxiety in their dogs.

“We are expecting also separation anxiety. After a dog spending so much time walking, playing, nurturing. If you leave all of a sudden and go back to your normal routine you pet may be unsettled,” said Sebastien Lafon, a My Pet Defense board member.

And just like in humans that stress has certain physical tells. Some things your dog might do if it’s stressed include pacing, shaking, panting, shedding, yawning and drooling.

Pets may experience a loss of appetite, increased aggression, tendency to scratch, seek isolation and
an excessive need to sleep.

If your pet is experiencing severe stress and shows any sudden changes in behavior, talk to your vet.

“In 2020, they observed pet parents have increased their walking habits with their pets by about 25%. If you stop that with your new routine you’re going to accelerate anxiety,” Lafon said. “Once they will be alone they might not have the same level of exercise.”

Some other things you can do to help your dog include training them gradually so they are used to you being away and giving them health supplements.

Pet owners can also consider getting a dogwalker, catsitter or going to doggie daycare. Getting a second pet also helps pets deal with separation anxiety.

Getting a pet camera is recommended to check in on your pet while you’re away. Some are even interactive and allow you to speak to your pet, play with it with a laser pointer or even give it treats.

For more information on helping your pet cope with anxiety, visit My Pet Defense’s website.