HOW WILL PETS HANDLE SEPARATION AS FAMILIES
GO BACK TO WORK & SCHOOL?
Pet Behavior Scientist Offers Tips on How to Address Separation Anxiety and Create a Smooth Transition into the Post-Pandemic World
DR. RAGEN MCGOWAN, Pet Behavior Scientist at Purina
It’s estimated that of the nearly 90 million dogs in the U.S., 20 to 40 percent taken to veterinary behavioral specialists are affected by separation anxiety. Luckily for our furry friends, the pandemic has kept many of us at home, making them some of the happiest members in the household. On the flip side, some of our pets are counting down the days until kids go back to school and offices reopen so they can have the house to themselves again. Either way, as we look to leave the house more, it’s important for families to start preparing their pets for this transition period.
Dr. Ragen McGowan has been involved in animal behavior research for more than 20 years and is available to share best practices on how to help your pets handle the transition.
· MONITOR YOUR PET’S BEHAVIOR: Transitioning back to in-person school and work will be a big change that may bring out anxious behaviors in some pets like increased vocalization, unusual behavior or even depression. It’s important to monitor your pet’s behavior to see if they’re struggling emotionally.
· PETS THRIVE ON ROUTINE: There are a few ways we can help pets get reacclimated to their new schedule before the time comes, including scheduling their morning and evening walks at the same time each day.
· EASE INTO THE TRANSITION: For some pets, a closed door can send a message of separation, while others may need to be reintroduced to their crates or encouraged to spend time in a calm, quiet part of the house for part of the day.
MORE ABOUT DR. RAGEN MCGOWAN:
Dr. Ragen McGowan is a Pet Behavior Scientist who has been with Purina for more than 10 years. Dr. McGowan has been involved in animal behavior research for over 20 years, using a holistic approach that incorporates behavior, physiology and endocrinology. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Zoology and Foreign Language and a PhD in Applied Ethology from Washington State University. Her post-doctoral research focused on emotionality in dogs and explored new methodology to objectively evaluate positive emotions, including studying the “Eureka Effect” (emotional reactions to learning). Through her research, Dr. McGowan aims to create products that cater to pets’ behavioral and emotional needs, and to better understand the human-animal bond from the pet’s perspective. Dr. McGowan has a passion for sharing her vast knowledge of pet behavior and the human-animal bond. In addition to speaking at a variety of events for Purina, she is a contributing scientific expert for the Collegiate Animal Welfare Competition, Companion Animal Nutrition Summit, Gut Microbiome Roundtable and Dognition podcast.
Produced for: Purina