For some pets, having the family at home all the time has been a dream come true — more play time, perhaps more treats, and a lot more walks. For some other pets, too much of a good thing has been way too much, and they want their house back. Second Chance Animal Services is reminding pet owners to think about how the changes brought on by COVID-19 have impacted their pet.

We all need downtime, and pets are no different. Especially in larger households or families with young children, pets may need a break from the activity, noise, and attention. Having someplace quiet to escape for a break is a good idea for pets in these homes if possible. If you find your pet wandering away from the action to take a nap, let them be for a while.

Pet owners should be on the lookout for signs of stress in their pet like excessive licking and chewing, whining, or destructive behavior or accidents in the house. Any new behavior can be a clue that something’s amiss. If the behavior continues, pet owners should talk to their veterinarian to help address the issue.

Second Chance CEO Sheryl Blancato is also reminding pet owners to help their pet adjust as people return to work. “Consider adjusting your schedule slowly or have a friend or family member check on them if that’s an option. Pets thrive on routine, so every time you have to change that routine, be patient.”

Blancato was thrilled to see how many pets were adopted from Second Chance as stay-at-home restrictions were put in place. “It was an ideal time for pets to be welcomed into a family. Now, as those families may be spending less time at home, we hope adopters will help their new pets adjust to the change.”

For those who have been home with their pets this whole time, Second Chance Medical Director Grace Park recommends taking steps to teach the pet to be alone again, or for the first time with newly adopted pets. “This can include leaving them home alone for a short period and gradually extending the length of time you are out. As you head out the door, you can reward calm behavior with a special treat. A peanut-butter-filled Kong or a food-dispensing puzzle toy is great if your pet is unable to destroy them.”

Most of all, Blancato and Park urge pet owners to remain understanding and not rush to surrender their pet if they return home to an accident or chewed-up shoe. With a little time and training, the pet can adjust to the new schedule. Pet owners who think their pet may need extra support can reach out to their veterinarian for help.