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COVID-19 Pet Stress, Training & Behavior Tips & Advice for Pet Owners and Foster Families

woman holding a dog in a cafe

With the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, our new normal seems to change every day. Those changes affect our pets, too. Here are some simple tips to help your furry friend adapt to an ever-changing landscape—whether you’re a pet parent, new adopter or fostering a dog or cat.


Tips for Managing Your Pet’s Stress

Look for signs of stress in your pet, like hiding, withdrawal, aggression or inappropriate elimination or spraying. Dogs and cats are sensitive to their environment. Luckily, time, consistency and a calm demeanor can go a long way in helping your pet relax.

Keep in mind the rule of 3’s as a guideline for how long it may take a pet to adjust, especially for fosters and new adoptions:

3 Days to Decompress 3 Weeks to Learn Routine 3 Months to Settle In

Pet may seem scared or overwhelmed

May not want to eat or drink

Pet may hide and test boundaries

Pet may feel more comfortable as he/she figures out the environment and feels more at home

May start to understand a routine and begins to let guard down

Behavior issues can still start to appear


Pet begins to bond and feel comfortable

May start to settle into a routine

Pet gains a sense of security and feelings of “home”


COVID-19 Pet Training and Behavior Tips

If new behavior is popping up along with schedule changes due to COVID-19, or your pet or foster pet could benefit by brushing up on social skills, these guides, tips and articles may come in handy:


When You Go Back to Work

Give your pet time to adapt and adjust. Just like their human counterparts, our pets are dealing with a lot of change. They may revert to some unexpected behaviors, need some help re-training, or just a little extra time to cuddle. Be patient, and keep an eye out for signs of separation anxiety so you can comfort them as-needed.


If You Need More Help

This has been a stressful time and a lot of change for everyone, including our pets. We could all use some extra understanding right now, so be patient, and give things time.

If an adoption or foster experience is feeling a little bumpy, though, and you simply can’t stay together, there are resources that can help you safely find your pet a loving home. Rehome can be a good place to start. But before you do, check out our dog resources and cat resources for some extra help, or reach out to your local shelter.

If job loss or financial issues are affecting your ability to care for a pet, you can always reach out to your local shelter or rescue group to ask if they are offering assistance.


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