Tips for pet owners post-pandemic


As pet owners leave home more as COVID-19 slows, Young-Williams Animal Center is sharing tips to make this transition easier for pets that could experience separation anxiety. We want to help keep pets with the families who love them.

Ease your pet into a new routine.

  • Pets thrive on routine but also are adaptable and quick learners.
  • Whether it’s potty breaks, mealtimes, bedtime or playtime, if you anticipate an upcoming change, such as a return to in-person work that will shift your pet’s regular routine, establish new habits.
    • For example, if you know you will no longer be home during your pet’s usual mealtime, shift into a new routine over a couple of weeks before the change.

Avoid emotional departures or greetings with your pet.

  • Make coming in or out of your home a normal thing. Pets respond to human emotions.
  • Instead of a sad goodbye and excited hello, create a positive association with your exit.
  • Reward your pet for calm behavior with a small, healthy treat as you leave.
  • Get your belongings ready, then wait for your pet to be calm before getting the reward.
  • This teaches your pet to understand that you leaving home is no big deal.
  • Consider enrichment toys to keep pets busy while you are away.
  • Leave music or TV on so they don’t sit in silence.
  • Nanny cams can help pet owners keep their pets safe and happy, even when they aren’t at home.
    • Say a command, detect barking, receive real-time alerts and even toss a treat.

Ensure daily exercise continues.

  • A pet’s exercise requirements can vary by breed or age.
  • Even if your pet is a couch potato, a daily walk or play session is essential.
  • If you anticipate being away from your pet for extended lengths of time each day, consider hiring a pet sitter or dog walker or asking a trusted friend to help.

Young-Williams Animal Center’s Pet Resource Center is here to help pet owners find resources and the help they need to keep pets at home.

  • We believe taking your pet to an animal shelter should be the last resort.
  • Our Pet Resource Center supports the community in times of need with free pet food, supplies and behavioral resources to keep pets at home.
  • If you need help or want to support the Pet Resource Center, call 865-363-6702 or email pethelp@young-williams.org.
  • For more information, visit young-williams.org/resources.