Preparing Your Pets For The Easing Of COVID-19 Restrictions
During the pandemic, many Australian pets have been benefiting and enjoying having their families home with them more often. As restrictions begin to ease, it's expected that many of us will begin spending less time at home again. This sudden change can be confusing and stressful for our pets who've adjusted nicely to a more constant companionship from us.
Thankfully, there are some tips we can use to help ease their transition.
1. Keep your routine regular
While the routines of a pre-pandemic life have evolved rapidly, it's important to try and stick to a regular schedule as much as possible. Much like humans, animals can find rapid and unexpected changes to their routine very stressful. Keeping to regular times for feeding, exercising/play, resting, etc. can help reduce this stress. Additionally, if you're working and schooling from home, sticking to normal start and finish times will also be of benefit.
Where possible, try and keep this routine as close to your usual routine - this will help your pet cope when the time comes to go back to work or school.
2. Encourage secure alone time
Though it's tempting to spend all day, everyday with your pet by your side, ensuring they get some alone time while you are still at home will help the inevitable transition later down the track.
Helping your pet feel secure while alone is also an association you can practice while you're still at home. Secureness will help your pet cope better when you leave the home.
One way you can encourage this association is to set your pet up in a separate room that's safe and comfortable for them. Start off with small segments of time and slowly increase the length in which you leave your pet by itself - especially if they're not used to being alone. Having activities to keep occupied should help ease the stress.
3. Make alone time fun
Providing enriching activities for your pets to enjoy while separated from you will also help them build a positive association with being alone. Activities such as puzzle feeders, safe toys to chew, cuddle or play with are good examples of enriching alone time games. These games will be mentally and physically stimulating as well as entertaining, keeping them occupied in your absence.
4. Exercise before alone time
After exercise, animals generally have an easier time settling down. In order to burn off some excess energy before their alone time, make time for exercise like a walk or some play time. Wand toys are a great way to play with your cat, or a game of fetch if you have a dog - this one-on-one time will be appreciated by your pet while also tiring them out and getting them ready to rest.
5. Make your departures and arrivals boring
When you do leave the home, try to make your arrivals and departures as boring as possible. This can be difficult when you've got an overly excited dog or cuddly cat ready to greet you on your return. However, keeping your entrance low key will teach your pet that there's nothing exciting about your comings and goings but most importantly, nothing they should be anxious about.
With these tips in mind, you can best prepare your pets for the easing of restrictions, providing a more smooth and happier transition for your beloved furry friend.
If you need help with any of the tips mentioned above or feel your pet is exhibiting abnormal behaviour, we provide extended length behavioural consultations Monday to Friday by appointment - for help with your pets behaviour call us on (03) 9596 4804.