Helping your pet adjust to change can be challenging. Just like we get anxious or stressed when there are changes in our lives, so do our pets. They also need time to adjust. A client of ours, Bear, struggled when his human went back to school after being with her all summer. He felt lost. But there are ways to help Bear and your pet adjust to the changes we all experience. These changes can range from back to school, moving, work schedules, new babies or second pets and even daylight savings time. So, what does helping your pet adjust to change look like?
Set up a Routine
Many pets thrive on routine. Making sure they know what the routine is can go a long way to relieve their stress and also getting the whole family on the same page. If you are introducing a new routine; first, make a plan and then start practicing. It’s also important to stay consistent with any routine, especially if new. Feed your pet at the same time each day. Do their walks at the same time of day. If you take them to doggy daycare, drop them off earlier.
Exercise Your Pet
A pet with pent-up energy left home alone all day may end up becoming destructive. A tired pet is a happy pet. If your schedule doesn’t allow for a morning walk, before you leave, try to play a rousing game of fetch with your dog or a round of laser tag with the cat. If this doesn’t help temper their energy while you’re away, another option is to consider hiring a dog walker who can come to your house in the middle of day for a walk.
Pets, especially dogs, tune into what’s going on more than you may realize. They also take their cues from you. If you are anxious or upset, they are likely to feel the same. Stay relaxed and calm and they will likely be calm as well and accept the changes.
Distractions can work wonders. No doubt if you were left home alone all day with nothing to do, you would be bored too. Consider investing in some activities for your pets. There are a variety of interactive puzzles for dogs and a frozen peanut butter filled Kong can keep them busy for quite some time. Your cat may benefit from sprinkling a little catnip on their toys. Consider leaving music on for your pet. Sudden quiet can leave your pet feeling anxious. YouTube has a variety of channels with the intention of keeping your pet calm while you are gone.
Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for behavior changes in your pet and if you find the distractions are not helping, know there are options to help them stay calm. Some options include over the counter Adaptil for dogs, Rescue Remedy for dogs and cats, CBD oil, etc. Please reach out to us if you are thinking of trying one of these and we can guide you to what’s best for your pet.
Give them Quality Time
Your pet may have gotten used to having you around more, and when that changes, it can be quite the adjustment. To help with this change, make sure you are giving them lots of attention when you are with them. You can take them for longer walks or spend more time grooming them. Whatever activity you and your pet enjoy doing together, set aside time each day for it.
Helping your pet adjust to change doesn’t have to be as stressful as the change itself. Remember, at the end of the day, you and your pet will go through many changes in your time together. Using these tips can help you work through them as they come and don’t ever hesitate to give us a call if you need help with any of them; we are another resource for you. We want you and your pet to be happy and thriving in your time together.