Mechanicsburg vet weighs in on how to help pets adjust as families head out of the house


MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — As more people get vaccinated, kids are heading back to school, adults are going back to work and both are socializing. That means pets are left at home, putting some in shock after more than a year of spending all of their time with their owners.

Dogs acting up, having accidents or not eating are all signs they’re having a “ruff” time adjusting to their families being out of the house.

“They’ve got to do something or they’re hiding somewhere,” said Dr. Patricia Gabig, a veterinarian at Winding Hill Veterinarian Clinic.

Dr. Gabig has been a vet in Central PA for nearly 30 years.

She says while cats are fine being alone, the concern is dogs. She tells us for many pups, that extra time cooped up with families during the pandemic was actually beneficial.

“This is one of the good things I think that happened in the past year with people being home, especially with little puppies, is that they got more time,” said Dr. Gabig. “It’s what they needed. Dogs are pack animals. They love to be with their family. That’s their nature.”

Like humans, dogs’ anxiety increased during the pandemic too.

But now, the reports of separation anxiety are already rolling in, and more are expected in the coming months.

Dr. Gabig says adjusting your schedule slowly is key.

“We just have to do it in gradual steps,” said Dr. Gabig.

You may be tempted to give a dog a bone, but sometimes it takes more, like daycare or another person stepping up.

Dr. Gabig tells us treatment varies, since every dog and home life is different.

It’s expected to be harder on the vast amount of puppies adopted during the pandemic, because a life full of family time is all they know.

“Sometimes we have to use medication or just natural supplements,” said Dr. Gabig. “There’s a soothing music called Through a Dog’s Ear. That’s great it’s classical music that you can’t hear the frequencies but the dogs can.”

One of the other challenges families who recently bought puppies may have is socializing them, since they likely aren’t used to other animals or people. Dr. Gabig says every vet may have unique solutions.

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