4 min read

How to Ease Into Post-COVID Life with Fido


As we prepare to return to life as we knew it in the "before times", many of us pet parents are concerned about how our dogs will adjust. There's no denying that our fur-children worked wonders for our mental health during quarantine. But The Washington Post found that COVID-19 affected our pups' mental health in unexpected ways:

  • Changes in our behavior stressed out our dogs.

  • Some dogs needed space from their humans who were working from home.

  • Separation anxiety worsened for some dogs after their humans returned to work.

  • Social distancing prompted lunging and leash-pulling behaviors, especially in extroverted dogs.

  • Face masks made some dogs anxious and fearful, causing excessive barking and other behavior issues.

Now that the world is slowly but surely reopening, how can you ease your dog into post-COVID life without driving them barking mad? We've sniffed out some top tips on preparing your pup for the transition back to work, school, traveling, doggy daycare, and more!

Preparing to go back to work or school

While the past year and a half has been "ruff" for us humans, our hounds have loved having us home all the time! (For the most part.) But that also means they've grown used to our continued presence. And if you suddenly start leaving them alone for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, your dog may have a hard time adjusting.

Ease your fur-baby back into your usual daily routine instead of diving back in paws-first. Do some practice runs well in advance and plan a few outings for an hour or two at a time. If your pup has severe separation anxiety, try half-hour increments instead. With each outing, gradually increase the time you're gone. That way, when you return to work or school full-time, your absence won't be a complete shock to your pup's system.

Here are a few more tips on preparing your pupper for the transition:

  • Give them a cozy place to rest

  • Walk or play with your pup before going to work or school

  • Book drop-in sessions with a Pet Caregiver

Is your company or school transitioning back to in-person work or learning? Check our out guide on preparing your pet for your return to work.

Preparing to travel (with or without your dog)

Whether you're heading out on a Fido-friendly adventure or leaving your fur-baby behind for a business trip, traveling post-COVID is gonna take some getting used to.

Between arranging pet care and booking your flight, you've got your paws full. Feel like you're forgetting something? Check to make sure you've added these items to your to-do list. We've also covered these tips in more detail in our guide on how to prepare for traveling without your pet.

Tips for traveling with your pet post-COVID

  • Pack a first-aid kit for your dog

  • Research pet-friendly accommodation options and policies at your destination

  • Compile a list of doggy daycares and emergency veterinarians in the area

Tips for traveling without your pet post-COVID

  • Create a pet care plan

  • Review commands (especially obedience and crate training)

  • Invest in products like puzzle toys and CBD dog treats to soothe your pet

Preparing to return to the dog park

Is it safe to take your dog to the dog park during or after COVID? Yep! It's totally safe to take Rufus for a run at their favorite off-leash spot. As well as following COVID-19 health protocols, you'll also need to practice good "petiquette" for a safe and fun excursion. Follow basic dog park rules, like:

One of your main safety concerns should be your dog's behavior. If your doggo hasn't socialized with many pups or people during the pandemic, it's worth taking them for an on-leash excursion or two first.

Consider consulting a dog trainer near you (or booking an online dog training session) to reinforce your mutt's manners. Even if your woofer seems well-adjusted, a refresher course never hurt! Besides, you can never predict how other dogs will behave, especially in an off-leash setting.

Preparing to book a dog sitter or boarder

If you're planning your first post-COVID trip, you might be wondering, "Is it safe to take my dog to daycare?" The answer is yes — boarding facilities and in-home dog boarders across the country follow CDC guidelines.

If you're concerned about health and safety, choose a dog boarder who follows COVID-19 safety protocols, including:

  • wearing a mask

  • maintaining a distance of 6 feet at all times

  • washing hands or using sanitizer frequently

  • coughing or sneezing into their elbow

If you have any concerns, chat with your boarder or sitter before your service. Let them know if you have any special requirements.

Need more advice on what to do before booking a sitter or boarder? These guides will come in handy:

Booking a dog sitter or boarder through the Wag! app? To help keep local Pet Caregivers, pups, and people safe, consider giving a dedicated COVID-19 Tip. This option in the Wag! app helps Pet Caregivers pay for hand sanitizer, gloves, and other COVID-19 supplies.

Lockdowns and mandates all over the world are finally beginning to lift. But make no mistake — the pandemic is still happening, and this virus isn't going anywhere anytime soon. While more than half of Americans are vaccinated and schools and workplaces are opening back up, the CDC still recommends following public health measures. Check out our COVID-19 resource center for pet parents for more information.

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