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New pandemic pets need training to help deal with empty home anxiety: BC SPCA

Last Updated May 13, 2020 at 7:36 am PDT

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You'll need to prepare your new pets for life after isolation at home, the SPCA says

BC SPCA is offering advice on its website to help people train and socialize new pets during the pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The SPCA is reminding everyone who has adopted new pets during the COVID-19 pandemic that they need to be preparing those animals for what life will be like after isolation at home comes to an end.

“We have a lot of animals still coming into our shelters but interest in adoption has never been higher,” says the BC SPCA’s Lorie Chortyk. “Animals are adopted as soon as they come into our shelters and in some cases, we have 200 applications for the same animal.”

It has been said that COVID-19 is a pet’s paradise, with their people around all day long, and if you have brought a new animal into your home during the pandemic, maybe that’s all they’ve known.

“In all of our adoptions we do the proper counselling to make sure people understand the responsibility they take on – there are financial commitments, time commitments and there is a real responsibility that comes with bringing an animal into your life,” Chortyk tells NEWS 1130.

“I think that the people who are adopting right now understand that even though they are home now, there are certain things they need to do to make sure their animal transitions when they go back to work, so that the animal is used to being home alone a little bit more than they might be now.”

The BC SPCA is offering advice on its website to help people train and socialize new pets during the pandemic.

“We are in pretty unusual times – people are at home so much more – so we’ve also developed a lot of new resources on our website for helping people train a new puppy in the time of COVID-19 because they can’t be out socializing in the same way that a puppy normally would,” Chortyk explains.

“We have training exercises and also exercises you can do with your pets to help them when you make the transition back to being at work or out of the house more so that it’s not shock for the animals and they cope well with being home a little bit more alone than they would be normally.”

One suggestion is proper crate-training for dogs.

“Even if you are home, put the crate in another room for a few minutes and increase the time so that animal does get to spend time in the crate, playing with its toys, having a good time off by itself. Gradually increase the time so it’s not a shock when they go from having people around all the time to not having that. It’s something they can adapt to in phases while people are home.”

If you are interested in adopting a pet, the BC SPCA has made temporary changes to its adoption process during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The society has moved to online applications and appointment-only shelter visits to protect the health of staff, volunteers and members of the public.

If you have any questions or need support after your adoption, you can contact the branch you adopted from for advice.