Prepping Pets for Life After Lockdown

Prepping Pets for Life After Lockdown

Change can be stressful.  Not just for humans but pets too.  Our pets’ normal was us leaving the house in the morning and returning in the late afternoon.  Over the past few months most of us have been home 24/7.  Believe it or not that is stressful too.

Now, our cities and towns are starting to open up again. Pet parents may be preparing to return to work outside of the home, return to school, or other daily activities.  Schedule changes can trigger stress.  We have so many things to adjust in our lives, one thing we can’t overlook is helping our pets adjust to quiet homes again.

Some pets are at a higher risk of not transitioning well.  Pets who have separation anxiety, noise aversion or phobia, older pets, newly acquired pets,  and puppies & kittens.                                                                                                              

Prepare Now Not Later

Begin preparing as soon as you can before you go back to work or school. Two weeks is a good time frame to slowly acclimate your pets to a new schedule. 

Think about the puppy or kitten who you adopted in May.  You’ve been home with them practically all day, every day for two and a half months. House training/litter box training went well.  The cat has become a custom to walking in front of your camera during your zoom meetings.  Your dog sits in his bed next to your feet all day with frequent walks around the neighborhood.  Then one day you feed them and take them out or clean the litter box and poof you’ve disappeared.  That’s scary.

Help your pets transition smoothly to a new schedule. Why?  This will help limit stress associated with these changes.  It is important to the health of your pet because stress can result in inappropriate elimination, destruction, increased irritability, and even illness.

What Can You do

Start your schedule adjustments now.  Gradual changes to your current routine are less of a shock to the household members (including the humans).

Hopefully you have time.  Several weeks is plenty, two would be best.  This will give you the opportunity to make small changes daily and ease into your new routine.

Cats

Cats and kittens tend to be far more independent than our canine family members.  That doesn’t negate the fact they may undergo stress due to changes in the household.

Ideas for Your Cat:Prepping Pets for Life After Lockdown

  • Safe Place – a room or rooms that they can navigate without supervision.  A place that is safe to climb, play,  hide, eat, and use the litter box.
  • Elevated Space – somewhere they can see the world from a birds eye view.  A window perch is usually somewhat elevated and they have a daily show right there for the viewing.
  • Background Music – white noise, TV, radio or a pet friendly smart device music can help distract pets from outside noise.
  • Scratching Post – height appropriate
  • Litter Box – easy to access and right size for cat
  • Pheromone Support – Felaway® is a facial pheromone – cats leave when they rub their cheek – this is a safe place for m e (tells the cat)

Feliway® is a feline facial pheromone that sends comforting messages into the environment.  It provides cats with comfort in stressful situations to help reduce or prevent unwanted behaviors from occurring.  The plug-in diffusers placed strategically in your home emit this feline facial pheromone to help control behaviors that occur due to change sin a cat’s environment.

Dogs

Puppies could be a big challenge because at least one human has been home with them for two three four months.  Now 

 

people are going to leave.  With the COVID Puppy Boom and record numbers of adult dog adoptions, there are lots of dogs that are happy to have their humans with them all day long.  Teaching puppies (and adult dogs) to be alone doesn’t have to be difficult.  Remember this is a new experience they may have never been exposed to.

A crate is only the beginning.  There is a difference between them hanging out in the crate when you are home and you being gone.  Crate training has a long list of benefits, if introduced positively.  Their crate should always be a safe, secure, happy place to go.   Give them treats and or toys that make the experience enjoyable. 

With initial alone time training, give the pup a treat they really enjoy and go outside for five minutes (if it’s going well).  Gradually add more time away and the longevity of the treats to keep them pre-occupied. Try freezing peanut butter or squeeze cheese inside of a Kong.  This frozen dog friendly treat will keep them preoccupied enough for a long walk (or longer).

Prepping Pets for Life After Lockdown

Ideas for Your Dog:

  • Crate – a home inside their home
  • Treats – Kong stuffed treats for short duration.  Longer times use food puzzles. 
  • Background Music – white noise, TV, radio or a pet friendly smart device music can help distract pets from outside noise.
  • Set a schedule – include feeding and walking times. Slowly begin to work towards the amount of time they will be alone.  
  • Pheromones – Adaptil® – canine appeasing pheromone.  Mother dogs produce this hormone when they are about to give birth.

Adaptil® Canine pheromones provide a comforting message to dogs, a signal of security and safety. Dogs continue to recognize it throughout their lives.   It works to decrease stress when they come into the home.   It also helps promote better outcomes with socialization.  Adaptil® comes in collars, and home diffusers similar to the feline version that emits no odor to humans but helps dogs feel calm and relaxed during stressful situations. 

New Schedule

Stress can lead to illness.  Be proactive vs. reactive begin preparing now, before you go back to work, school, start a new schedule.  Preparing will help make it a smooth transition.  Work up to a schedule you can keep once  you return to normal activities.

All pets know when even subtle changes begin to occur. Some are more sensitive and will affect them more than others.  Introducing these changes gradually will allow your pet time to be confident and comfortable with the new, new normal.  Activities that allow your pets to entertain themselves while you are still home will help to minimize their dependence upon you.

Our lives after lock down may become busier but it is still important to spend quality time with your pet daily.

 

Happy Pet Parenting,

Prepping Pets for Life After Lockdown

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