With more of us pet owners spending time indoors, it’s normal for us to want to spend extra time with our beloved furry companions. It is a great thing to bond and to try out some new fun activities to keep yourself and them entertained, however it is worth ensuring you don’t accidentally over do it.
Our pets are generally used to us leaving the house in the morning and then returning in the evening, with perhaps a quick check up at lunch. Dogs, in particular, are pack animals that are not suited to being left alone for long periods. If they have got used to being left at home during the day, and are now being spoiled, it may be difficult for them to adjust when life returns to normal. Less extreme for cats maybe, but cats also get stressed by changes to routine. So, in general, we should be aware that it might be difficult for pets when we do eventually return to a normal work routine.
To guide you through, we have come up with a few tips on how you can reduce the possibility of separation anxiety in the upcoming months.
Try to stick to a normal routine
Where possible, try to stick to your usual routine as though you were still at work. Is there another room that you can go in to relax for a few hours, or perhaps set up office in, if you are still able to work from home? These few hours alone from your pet will make it easier for them when everything starts to return to normal.
Try not to overfeed them
Boredom eating is a real thing. Just like for us humans, our pets could suffer from boredom eating too. Always stick to their normal eating routine and try not to treat them too much when you do activities together. You could always swap out their usual treats with some healthy ones too, such as chopped carrots for dogs. If using dry food, allocate your usual daily allowance of food in a separate container so that you aren’t tempted to give more throughout the day. If you are doing extra baking or meal preparations to fill your time, definitely do not be tempted to give them human food, as this could cause problems for them.
Exercise is still important
If you are a dog owner, this can be a challenge during the lockdown and you may be wondering how your dog can be exercised during this time. With instructions to only go out when absolutely necessary and perhaps only just for one walk a day, your dog may feel the effects of this reduction. Is it possible you and someone else in the house can take it in turns to walk the dog, so that they’re still getting their two walks a day? If not, we have plenty of garden activities to keep your dog busy during this time.
Use the time wisely
If you are still struggling with ideas on how to fill your spare time, why not try and teach your dog some new techniques and maybe even try and improve their confidence, and why not take a look at our best tips for brushing your cat. If you have a nervous pet, identify their triggers and then you can develop a plan to help. If you have recently rehomed a rescue dog or just need tips on how to keep them calm, we have plenty of information to help here too.