We have all made significant changes to our lifestyles over the last couple of months, with everyone in the Uk, and many people outside of it, living in lockdown. We have made changes to the way we work and the way we exercise which has changed the way many of us live with our pets too. Being around our pets more has been a great comfort for many of us and given us an extra reason to take that daily exercise allowance every day. But now the lockdown restrictions are beginning to relax, we will see changes to our daily routine again which will impact our cats and dogs. They have been used to us being around 24/7, so how will they react to being left alone once we return to work. In this article we look at how pets might be affected by changes to our routine and how you can prepare your pet for a return to a normal schedule.
Which pets will be most affected by a new routine
The answer to this is quite simple: dogs will be most affected. Our cats may notice that we’ve been around more, especially indoor cats who may have got used to an extra snuggle or two; but dogs are generally more social than cats and are likely to notice your absence much more. Dogs tend to form such strong bonds with their humans which can make it hard for them if their routine changes and time left alone increases. As pet owners we will need to assess our pets lives closely and make gradual changes where possible to help the return to our new normal routine as seamless as possible for our loving pets. Sudden changes to routine and long periods of time away from owners can cause separation anxiety and pining, so ensuring we do everything we can to make gradual changes is key.
How To Help Pets Get Used To Life After Lockdown?
Keep changes gradual - The main thing is to make sure changes happen gradually. Just like training your puppy or litter training your kitten when you first bring them home, it doesn’t happen over night. Leave them alone for progressively longer periods of time; start with 15 minutes, then half an hour and then an hour and so on. Your pets will soon trust that you’ll return when you leave them alone.
Leave them activities and toys - Try leaving them things to keep themselves occupied. Leave dogs treat filled puzzle balls or a stuffed KONG. Distractions will help pass the time that they’re on their own. Giving them things to do will ensure boredom doesn’t set in. Chew toys are great as they'll help prevent them from chewing bedding or furniture too.
If you have cats, especially indoor cats, then providing them lots of stimulation in the form of interactive toys is a great way to keep their minds active, and combat boredom. We particularly love the range of Catit Senses toys and accessories which are all designed to work as stand-alone items or in conjunction with one another. Pop one of two of these toys around your cats living space and they're sure to have loads of fun. Some of the items are just as beneficial for their health as their need to play; the scratch pad and massage centre are designed for stretching, scratching and lounging!
Don’t shower them with constant attention - This might sound mean, but it's actually healthy for you to ignore your pet sometimes. Pets can be very demanding of our attention and they need to learn that you’re not always going to be there. Of course give them fuss and playtime with you, but make sure you mix this with time alone.
Exercise before you leave them - Lockdown is already relaxing across Britain and we are all able to take more exercise outside for longer periods of time. We'd suggest taking your dog out for a good walk before you leave them on their own. This will give them the social time with you that they love, help calm them downed prepare them for a little time alone. The same goes when you get back from your trip out or after work when you eventually go back; reward them with some fuss and then maybe another walk. They'll soon realise that you're leaving the house isn't that bad after all!