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How Divorce Affects your Pet(s)?

Life after divorce involves a lot of emotional stress and adjustments. These changes apply not just to you but to your pet (s) too. Your furry friends are bound to wonder where your partner went after a split. They might even get distressed during the constant quarrels and fights they witness before the divorce.

Therefore, pet parents must learn how divorce affects pets and what you can do to make the transition easier for these pawed/ clawed pals. 

a sad dog lying on the bed

Here are a few things you should know:

The Impact: How Does Divorce Affect Pet (s)?

Pets are more attuned to your feelings than you think. That is why the stress and uncertainty surrounding the divorce hurt them.

Here is a list of factors that affect them most:

The Constant Squabbles 

The weeks and days leading up to the divorce could be traumatic for the furry ones. Witnessing frequent fights and high-tension situations can take a toll on your pet. Your clever cats and devoted dogs (or other domestic pets!) know when you are upset. They can sense the negative energy around them and respond to it through moody behavior.  

If you are co-parenting, you must create a schedule that gives both of you an equal opportunity to take care of your pet. You can rotate pet duty weekly or monthly. 

Consequently, they might become depressed, anxious, and scared if the household environment does not change. 

Solution

Avoid fighting in front of your pets. If an incident does occur, soothe your frightened pet by hugging them or letting them sleep with you.

Separation Anxiety 

Pets get emotionally attached to people and places. That is why shifting homes can be challenging for them. Leaving a co-owner behind adds to the trauma. The change might confuse your pet(s) and trigger separation anxiety.  It gets worst if one of their playmates lives with your ex. These little ones live in constant fear of losing other family members.

After the move, you can expect your pet to become clingy. They might have trouble falling asleep and stop you from leaving the house. 

Solution

You can counter these negative reactions by giving them extra love and attention. If your ex has the custody of another pet, schedule friendly playdates. That way, they will still have their pawed pal around for special occasions.  

Disrupted Routines

Most domesticated pets are creatures of habit. They need routine and consistency in their everyday activities. The slightest change can become a cause for alarm for some pets.

Pet parenting after divorce can become challenging because of this. If you settle on shared custody, your pet will have to adjust to new feeding and sleeping schedules frequently.

Alternatively, if you shift homes, they will have to adapt to a strange environment. All these changes can become unsettling for the pet.

Solution

If you have sole custody, you should replicate the old routine. These actions would bring a sense of normalcy into their lives. Everything from pet food, the sitter, to sleeping areas must get personalized according to individual needs.

What if you share custody?

In that case, coordination can get you through the adjustment phase. Match schedules and maintain similar routines. Additionally, use the same brand of pet food and grooming products. That way, you are less likely to face any medical issues caused by allergic reactions or indigestion.

The Checklist: Pet Parenting after Divorce

a couple sitting on the couch with a poodle and a cat

Some essentials to consider:

Use physical display of affection and soothing words to ease their anxiety. 

Custody Arrangement 

Where will your pet(s) stay?

If you are co-parenting, you must create a schedule that gives both of you an equal opportunity to take care of your pet. You can rotate pet duty weekly or monthly. 

Moreover, holidays can be a cause for conflict for some couples. You can designate holiday weekends according to the routine schedule. Or alternate holidays each year. Do remember that your pet(s) comfort and health come first in this scheduling. Make sure you have the vet’s permission if there’s travel involved.

Split the Medical Expenses

Older pets might require pet support due to extensive medical bills and chronic conditions. Younger pets with genetic disorders or physical impairment may also need medical care. 

It’s best to split the bills if you share custody. 

Use monthly income and feasibility to make the right decision. Many insurance companies are reluctant to charge bills on dual accounts. Consider these things beforehand to prevent miscommunication. 

Tender Love & Care

Always prioritize your pets’ emotional and mental wellbeing when you are making crucial decisions. For instance, don’t demand custody out of spite. Also, don’t take pet parenting lightly.

Once you receive ownership, you need to shower your pet(s) with love and attention. Use physical display of affection and soothing words to ease their anxiety. 

What Next?

In the end, your pet(s) deserve a safe and loving environment. Your relationship issues could be a cause for concern when the situation gets heated. Learn how divorce affects pet(s) to mitigate the risks and resolve emerging problems. Seek therapy and support if things go awry. 

Having a supportive social circle can be a blessing during these testing times. Also, don’t forget to practice self-care and go on outings with your pets. These activities can release tension and promote positive energy around the house.

Best of luck!

little bird

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Written by
Splitsvil Team

Splitsvil is designed to engage with divorcees, newly separated, or recently uncoupled individuals who need an unbiased, non-legal perspective on how to cope with their unfortunate situation and ultimately thrive! Our mission is to support women and men going through the emotional stages of separation, provide easy-to-read, quick tips and techniques via education content, offer a community for networking with others in similar domestic situations and ultimately provide a gift registry where family and friends can help individuals get back on their feet.

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