The time is fast approaching for schools to start a new year. Is this the time to start preparing your pets to spend more time alone?
Some pets may enjoy the peace and quiet, but for others, suddenly being alone for hours at a time can be stressful. This is the time separation anxiety develops, which can lead to toileting accidents, constant barking, chewing and other destructive behaviours.
The first thing to consider is how to reduce any energy in your dog. Pent-up energy is usually only going to lead to a bad outcome for your possessions.
To use up some of this energy, set aside time for your dog to go out and exercise each morning. Take your dog on a 30- 60-minute walk and let them chase their favourite toy before everyone leaves for the day. They will appreciate the time outdoors and the time spent with you. This will help them feel more like resting during the day instead of demolishing things in the house.
If you have a cat, take some time to play with them and their favourite toy or chase the laser pointer around for a while.
Before the school tierm begins try leaving without going anywhere. Have the children put on their school shoes and backpacks and go outside for a few minutes. After doing this a few times and lengthening the time spent outside, your dog will be used to the morning getting ready for school routine, which will hopefully reduce their anxiety Providing your pet with their favourite FourFriends Treats before you leave can also help them to associate the family leaving with something positive. Most importantly, when you’re leaving and returning, don’t make a big fuss over your departure and return, and only give your pet attention once they’re calm.
All pets need mental stimulation, but it’s even more important if they’re home alone. Bored home alone pets can lead to destructive behaviours like scratching and chewing, just for something to do. Food puzzles are a good way to provide mental stimulation. Just remember to deduct the amount of food used in the puzzle from their daily dietary amount. If you give your pet a new toy, make sure that it can’t be chewed or swallowed, since you won’t be home to supervise them.
If you can’t be with your pets during the day, why not find somebody who can? Most kennels offer doggy day care that can provide that all important stimulation and play experiences. Or find a local dog walker to come to your house and give your pet some one-on-one time.
We are all pet owners at FourFriends. We have Crossbreeds, Rottweilers, Jack Russell’s and Otterhounds and they all view life home alone differently. We are always happy to talk and share our experiences. See our Contact page for details.