A year and a half. We've all had our lives completely turned upside down since last March when the coronavirus first reared its ugly head and shut everything down. We all had to learn to work from home, go to school from home, never leave home for any reason but to pick up food and groceries and generally be available to our pets 24/7. Now that things are opening back up and getting back to whatever normal will look like post-pandemic it's time for your doggo or kitty to get used to you not being around all the time. Are they ready for that?

Experts say no, they're not, and unless you get them used to you being gone for long stretches of time it could lead to trouble. The American Kennel Club says that you need to do a few things to get your pet ready for those long work hours that you'll soon be putting in:

1. Practice social distancing - If you and Fido were attached at the hip for the past year and a half, start putting them out in the yard when you're home for a while or go for a walk on your own instead of taking your pet with you each time.

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2. Leave them home for errands - You might have taken your pet with you to run errands during the pandemic but now is the time to leave them home so they get accustomed to seeing you leave and then come back.

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3. Start your routine - If you have to get up early and get ready for work, do it. Leave for a while and then come back. Again, you're trying to show them that you won't always be there but you'll be back.

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4. Don't freak out - If you're nervous about leaving and make the exit high stress your pet will be stressed. Be happy, pet your pup or cat and then leave. Don't linger and show them that you're worried about leaving.

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5. It's all about toys - Specifically, things that will keep your pet occupied will help keep them from doing things like destroying your stuff because they're stressed at your absence and have nothing to fill the time.

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