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Pet Psychology: Why Is Your Dog or Cat Acting Weird During Quarantine?

67% of U.S households share their homes with a pet.

While dogs seem to be the clear winner of the popularity award, cats are a close second, followed by fish, birds, and other animals. We love our little furry, scaly, feathered friends, and most of us hate leaving them behind every time we go off to work.

However, with the ongoing pandemic, this little ritual has taken a back seat. And with more time on our hands, we’ve begun to notice our dogs and cats exhibiting some strange behaviors.

Let’s dive into a bit of pet psychology to find out the reasons behind it all.

The New Normal That Isn’t Normal

So you think your pet is acting strange? Let’s take a look at this from your pet’s perspective.

The human is being strange. She hasn’t left the house in more than two weeks, she obsesses over me like never before, and she won’t stop following me around with that darned camera!

Yes, it’s a strange time to be alive – for all of us. The new normal we’re slipping into isn’t normal at all for our furry little friends. They’re suspicious, they’re confused, they don’t know what to make of it and it’s showing.

We’re not behaving in a way that’s normal, and it’s likely that your pet is simply trying to make sense of it all.

Internalized Anxiety

In addition to being an unusual time, it’s also a deeply unsettling and anxiety-inducing one. We feel overwhelmed, we’re anxious, we’re confused, we’re sad, we’re trying to figure out how to make ends meet and we’re wondering if we’re going to lose our jobs.

Of course, we’re anxious, and of course, our intuitive pets are on to us.

If you notice that your dog is suddenly whimpering, losing his appetite, or wandering your home anxiously, it is likely that he’s internalized some of the anxiety you’ve been having over the past few days. Both cats and dogs are masterful at reading and understanding body language.

In cats, this manifests in urination, incessant mewing, and an increase in scratching behaviors.

If you’ve been following any kind of cbd news, you’ll know that CBD can be quite effective in helping your pet cope feel at ease during this uncertain time.

That being said, do be sure to get a second opinion from your vet regarding any behaviors that you think are out of the ordinary, or a cause for concern. While it could simply be anxiety, it is always better to be on the safe side when it comes to the well-being of your pets.

Pets Need Their Me-Time Too

While some pets are delighted to have their humans all to themselves, it can get a bit exhausting sometimes. Too much of anyone can make you sick, and unfortunately, you are not an exception – yes, even to your doting dog.

If you feel like your cats are pulling away from you at some part of the day, it’s likely that they just need a few minutes of gazing into the distance, all by themselves, thinking about some canned tuna. And don’t we all?

Respect your pets enough to give them their own space when they need it. Let your sleeping cats and dogs lie, and give them some well-earned peace when they need it.

No More Outdoors?

We’ve all been sentenced to indefinite imprisonment in our own homes and for some of us, that means no or very few walks.

While we may understand the necessity of complying with this rule, our pets do not. With so many trees left to climb, so many trails left unexplored, and so many fire hydrants left far too clean, our cats and dogs feel bored and robbed of their freedom.

This is particularly true for those of us who live in apartments that do not allow us to simply leave our dogs out in the yard, or let our semi-outdoor cats wander around in the garden.

Your dog might miss the companionship of his doggy friends in the park, and he definitely misses being able to guilt you into a carefree drive through the city.

What Pet Psychology Can Teach Us

If you feel like your pet is exhibiting some strange mannerisms, brought upon by these unusual times, you can do your part to be there for them. Here’s where you can start.

  • Give your pets as much exercise as you can while being indoors
  • Invest in a few toys you think your pets will like to allow them their daily dose of playtime
  • Consult your vet on any behaviors that cannot be explained away by the pandemic
  • Make sure your home is getting plenty of fresh air
  • Give your pets space when they need it
  • Take the time to groom your pet and don’t ignore basic hygiene

Getting Through the Pandemic With Your Furry Friend

It’s a tough time for humans and animals alike, but we can all get through this together. Our pets might be behaving rather strangely, but we all are, so let’s cut them some slack.

Treat your pets with compassion, patience, and love even when they’re being particularly trying. Animals appreciate feelings of normalcy, so try to develop a new, quarantine routine for them to adjust to.

If these strange signs don’t pass with time, do be sure to consult your vet as soon as you can.

Like this article? Share this bit of pet psychology with your fellow pet owners on social media and help them make sense of what’s happening!

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