ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Lazy Sundays do not apply to the dogs at the dog park in Vinoy Park.

What You Need To Know

  • Dogs are used to routine, veterinarian says

  • Pacing, chewing, barking and destructive behaviors are possible

  • Get your dog used to your schedule again

“I’m here for about an hour every morning and they get their Wheaties out,” said dog owner Patrick Carney.

But tomorrow is Monday, and as the state continues to open up, lots of people will be heading back to work.

What does that mean for the pets?

“I mean, you can tell they’re sad when I leave for work every day,” said Carney.

That is normal, according to veterinarian Brett Zager at St. Petersburg Animal Hospital and Urgent Care, especially since people have spent more time at home over the last few months. 

“So dogs love routine, all pets love routine. And if their new routine is their owners are home all day, it’s going to cause some anxiety or stress when there’s an abrupt change,” said Dr. Zager.

Some signs to look out for, he says, are pacing, chewing, barking, and destructive behaviors.

But, there are ways to try and get ahead of it.

“Walk them on your work schedule, interact with them on your work schedule. Feed them on your work schedule,” said Dr. Zager.

Over at the park, some owners are already doing that as they prepare to head back to work.

“I try to structure my day a little bit, where I leave her home a little bit so she can get used to me not being home all the time,” said dog owner Christopher Smith.

Dr. Zager also suggests using positive reinforcement, like offering a treat every time you leave and come home.

After all, he says, they’re adjusting to this new normal the same way we are.