Animal adoptions across the country peaked during the COVID-19 lockdown period, bringing much joy and great company to first-time fur parents and those of us who rarely live without our fur kids.
With more time being spent at home, it was the ideal period to bond and train pets.
But as restrictions have eased, we need to prepare our pets for life without their human 24/7, just as we need to adjust to a change in our routines by returning to our studies or the workplace.
Whilst they have most likely grown quite accustomed to having you home more often, your pet may need time and some help to adjust to the new routine. They will find this change easier to cope with and ideally not suffer from anxiety.
Pets can experience separation anxiety. Yes, anxiety. It can be a serious issue and incredibly distressing for a pet who is experiencing it. Prevention is so important.
For cats you may like to invest in cat furniture or climbing trees so they can hide, hunt, snooze and scratch to be entertained and feel safe.
For dogs it has been reported that soothing music or audio books may help to reduce boredom barking and help them to rest by masking any potentially scary noises.
For tech-inspired humans, there’s many pet gadgets available today to help you communicate easily with your pets remotely. Cameras, speakers, treat dispensers, the options are endless, although your budget may not be. 😊
Try these tips to help prepare you and your pet for life post coronavirus restrictions.
Create a routine and stick to it
Being organised is good for everyone, it’s less stressful. It’s the same for your pets. When they know their routine, they tend to be more content, just like kids. Factor in time each day for your pet including regular toilet breaks, walks and/or play time, feeding, grooming and relax time.
FUSS FREE leaving AND ARRIVING home
To help prevent any pet anxiety, don’t make a fuss when you leave home. Yes, I’m referring to those extra guilt cuddles, belly scratches and high-pitch assurances. Just close the door behind you, fuss-free. This way you’re telling your pet it’s no big deal to be leaving the home. You’ll be back.
Let them burn energy
Pets settle quicker and easier when they’ve been exercised. When scheduling exercise time, allow for morning and evening time if possible. When they are physically challenged, they should find it easier to rest while you’re away.
Keep their mind entertained
After their morning play, and after their rest time, you can bet they will be looking for something to do to entertain themselves. This is typically when the mischief starts. Invest in some suitable toys for your pet for mental stimulation and entertainment. Treat dispensing toys or chew toys that encourage them to explore and be rewarded for self-initiated play can work wonders.
Play music to break the silence
By having you home more often pets would have grown accustomed to hearing your voice, music choices or the television during the day. Consider turning on the radio or TV before leaving the house so they will have comforting sounds to listen to while you’re away.
Prepare them for alone time
You can help reduce separation anxiety by leaving your pet for short periods of time, then gradually increase the length of time over a few weeks. Keep to your schedule and provide them with their creature comforts to play with and snuggle while you’re not home.