Dog at home

Pets and Life After COVID-19 Lockdown

FOUR PAWS advises how to prepare pets for a normal routine again


23 April 2020 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS provides pet owners with tips for the time after the lockdowns have ended. People in many countries are currently spending significantly more time at home, which is particularly beneficial for pets. While pets can provide emotional support and company in isolation, they benefit as well from the increased attention and presence of their owners. However, life after lockdown needs to be considered too. Pets that then spend more time alone again must be prepared in due time to return to their usual routine. In this way their well-being can be guaranteed even in times of renewed change.

For dogs, big changes are often a special challenge: Through the time spent together, they develop close relationships with their owners. Things become critical when something changes during this time and the dog has to do without the attention of its owner in everyday life, even if it is only by the hour. 

“In order to get pets used to a normal routine again, it is important to gradually leave the house for a longer period and show them that their owners will always return home. With insecure dogs that have previously had to leave supposedly safe homes or have lost an important person, even a temporary separation can lead to behavioural problems. With the right training, fear of separation that often manifests itself through destructive behaviour like damaging furniture, barking and yelping until the owner returns, or depression as a result of loneliness, can be prevented.” 

Sarah Ross, Companion Animal Expert at FOUR PAWS. 

Cats seem to cope more easily with such situations and generally do not show the same behavioural problems as dogs. “Although many cats appreciate the attention and closeness of their family, most are independent and also structure their days themselves. It’s easier to prepare them for being alone again,” says Ross. Nevertheless, cats can also benefit from a few exercise sessions.

Counteracting anxiety

Owners must ensure that their pets continue to feel safe even when the time of constant attention has ended and the world returns to normality. As a pet owner, one can contribute a lot by teaching the pet how to deal with being alone and how to enjoy it. “For example, feeding games keep the animals occupied longer and distract them from the absence of their owners. If an animal demands excessive attention, it’s fine to ignore it to a healthy degree and not give in to every request. Pets should also be given breaks and should be respected if they withdraw of their own accord,” says Ross.

Dog and his owner

Animal Welfare and COVID-19

What you need to know and what can you do?

Read more
Katharina Braun

Katharina Braun

Team Lead Public Relations

+43 (0) 664 885 33 270

VIER PFOTEN International 
Linke Wienzeile 236
1150 Vienna, Austria

FOUR PAWS on Social Media

Stay up to date on this topic and on all FOUR PAWS activities on our social media channels:

or subscribe to FOUR PAWS International newsletter.


FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

Share now!