(WFSB) – As more people get vaccinated, more workplaces are welcoming employees back inside the office.

That transitions can be tough for pets who’ve become used to having company around.

Channel 3 spoke with experts for some tips on how people can help ease the transitions.

“Right from the beginning, I would talk to my clients about please, even if you get in your car and drive around the block to get lunch, that’s a great thing to do because we really want to think about when things go back to normal for our pets,” said Debbie Sheridan.

Debbie Sheridan is a behavior consultant certified in Applied Animal Behavior in West Hartford. She goes to the homes of clients and helps with various things like potty training issues and aggression.

Lately, she’s seeing an increase in the number of pets struggling with separation anxiety, especially as more people go back to the office.

“They are certainly creature of routine and when we upset that routine, we have to think about how we’re doing it and what we want to do to make it easier for them,” Sheridan said.

Sheridan says people should start slow, and work their way up. That includes activities like going for a short walk without your dog.

“When you leave, make it very nonchalant. When you come home, make it very nonchalant. When we take the emotion out of it, we help to make it a non-event,” Sheridan said.

If you leave for around two to three hours a day, pets won’t be caught off guard when you’re gone for 8 or more hours a day.

Among current pet-owning households, 35 percent adopted pets in the one-month period ending in February 2021.

That means millions of pets have no sense of what pre-pandemic life looked like.

“We don’t want them to feel panicked. If all a sudden they look around and nobody’s there when someone has always been there, of course they’re going to this feeling of panic,” Sheridan said.

Experts say pets need about four weeks to adjust to a new routine, but some animal have more trouble adapting compared to others.

“I think it’s important to just always take a step back and see thing from their perspective. They’re here, they do so much for us, they’ve helped us through this pandemic and we really want to be there for them,” Sheridan said.

A reminder that we need our pets as much as they need us.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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