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Pet anxiety: what happens when we return to work?


In recent times, our pets have enjoyed more of our company – and they’ve no doubt, kept us warm, active, and entertained throughout the various lockdowns.

But eventually, isolation will end, and we’ll return to our offices and social calendars. But what does that mean for our furry friends?

Check out our tips on how to prepare your pet for those long days home alone.

Know the signs of separation anxiety and stress

Pets are very perceptive. Familiar tasks like packing a bag, putting on makeup or rummaging for the house keys can signal that we’re getting ready to go out. If this incites whining, pacing, barking, pawing at the door, or a depressed flop at your feet — your pet could be experiencing anxiety and stress.

As well as being upsetting for your pet, you may find that anxiety has unwanted consequences for your home. Dogs, in particular, may chew, destroy or soil furniture and personal belongings. This is a sign of distress, not a cunning plan to spite you.

A few simple steps can help soothe your pet (and protect your home).

Tips for preparing your pet for when you return to work

Create a new routine

Try easing your pet into a routine that more closely resembles your old life. Start with regular walks and mealtimes (no more iso-snacking for you or your pet!). Make sure walks are scheduled at a time that will be easy to maintain once you’re back at work. You can also try leaving your pet alone more. This will help them adjust to the idea of you being away.

Encourage exercise and play

Make a little extra time to take your dog for a long walk in the morning. Exercise will help your pet expend any nervous energy and is a good way to ease mental stress. A tired dog is also less likely to spend all day eating your cushions.

Another way to help avoid destructive behaviour is to keep your pet occupied. Leave them with soft toys, chew toys or interactive puzzles. If you’re having trouble sparking their interest, try toys that release dog or cat pheromones for a calming effect.

Consider Pet Insurance

Left to their own devices, you may find that your pet slips into bad habits. Watch out for chewing — there are many common household items like plants, laundry detergents and painkillers that can be toxic to animals. Destructive chewing can be dangerous, resulting in indigestion, poisoning or even death. So while you’re taking care of your pet’s wellbeing, you may want to explore insurance options. AAMI, together with, offer Pet Insurance policies designed to assist with unexpected vet bills, providing cover for accidental injuries and illness, and helping give pet owners peace of mind.

Discover Pet Insurance

Consider day care

If you’re still having issues leaving your pet alone, consider employing a dog walker or exploring day care. Day care will not only provide your pet with companionship and mental stimulation, they’ll be supervised by trained professionals.

The transition back to the office may not be easy for your pet, but the new routine should soon become familiar and comfortable again. Taking time out now to prepare for the changes will not only result in a happier pooch (or feline!), but also provide you with peace of mind as you head back to work.

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Disclaimer: is general insurance issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ACN 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard); is distributed by Pet Insurance Pty Ltd (ACN 607 160 930; AR 1234944) (PIPL) and PIPL’s authorised distribution partner Platform Ventures Pty Ltd (ACN 626 745 177; AR 001266101) under the AAMI Brand, and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ACN 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) (PetSure). PIPL and Platform Ventures Pty Ltd are authorised representatives of PetSure. PIPL and PIPL’s authorised distribution partner Platform Ventures Pty Ltd will receive a commission which is a percentage of the premium paid to Hollard and PetSure may receive a portion of the underwriting profit, if any – ask PetSure for more details. Any advice provided is general only, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Consequently, before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at, in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold, Pet Insurance, and for important information about dispute resolution. The Target Market Determination is also available at