It’s the end of the summer holidays.
Many of us grown-ups are now rejoicing at the fact that the kids are going back to school. On the other hand, you might be dreading the fact that life is getting back to normal and that you’re back to your usual work schedule. There’s just not enough hours in the day.
What might be forgotten about though, is the effect that this can have on your pets. Even if you are still around during the day, it is likely that they will miss having the kids around – they feel the effect of the “empty nest” as well.
Cats and dogs are particularly vulnerable to any change in their schedules, and being left on their own can have a substantial impact after having family constantly around for a couple of months.
You might notice some changes in behaviour.
They might start having accidents while you are out, even if they are usually perfectly house trained. Howling or barking is common, as are pacing, digging or trying to escape. You might also find teeth marks on your shoes, or the varnish missing from your table leg, replaced with scratch marks.
There are things you can do to help though.
Keep them busy.
Can you imagine being alone all day with nothing to do? You would go out of your mind. Make sure they have a collection of toys. For dogs, a kong filled with with treats or peanut butter can keep them amused for hours, as can anything that they can chew. There are many toys available for cats, ranging from dangly things and automated laser pointers to full cat gyms. If your cat is a scratcher, a scratching post is essential to preserve both your cat’s sanity and your furniture’s finish.
Don’t punish them further.
Any of the above new behaviours are most likely related to stress. Don’t stress them even more by reprimanding them excessively, try to get at the cause. Punishing your dog or cat for bad behavior could make them feel worse about being alone
Take them out.
Pets in “back to school” households have been shown to receive less exercise than during the summer months. This in itself can cause stress in addition to them being left alone. A long walk in the morning can help enormously and leave your dog substantially more relaxed for the day. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, give us a call and we can help out.
Don’t fuss too much.
Acting in a calm manner when you leave the house will reduce the risk that your anxious behaviour will add to their stress. Again, when you get home, don’t go overboard. Easier said than done, but if you are giving the message that your return home is the most important time of the day, they may then spend the day anxiously waiting for this exciting moment.
Some pets will cope without any problems at all. For those that don’t, we’re here to help.
We can call round and take your dog for a long walk while you are at work, or while you are cooking for the family. We can just visit to spend some time with or feed your cat, or we can let your rabbit out for some exercise. Just get in touch, and we’ll take care of everything.