It has been an extremely stressful and unfamiliar time for us this year, and this change in daily life has had an impact on our beloved pets. Being home for longer hours and limited social contact has disrupted our cats and dogs in their daily lives. Some of them have loved it, others have struggled. It is time to be kind. This means kindness to our four-legged friends. Change can be scary and preparing for it is the best way to manage our dogs and cats today and the future. As we emerge from lockdown restrictions, many people are returning to work and leaving their pets to long hours again alone, for some this is a relief, but for many pets this is a fresh abandonment, and a loss of companionship and entertainment.
We want to share some tips for helping with this new lifestyle. Dogs particularly are social animals and being with their loved ones is essential, cats too enjoy our company and different personalities have different requirements for social contact. However, for every individual abrupt change is always stressful! If you have the time now, prepare your pets for increasingly longer periods of time alone, reshape your day to ensure they have their needs met. Exercise, entertainment and play, grooming, petting and rest. All these activities need to be provided in a routine that is least disrupted by our return to long hours away.
In real life this means morning walks with the dog and then appropriate mental stimulation (kongs, toys, hidden treats) left for them to be comforted whilst you are away. Cats need short periods of interaction and then reliable times for food and affection, ideally food left in toys for them to hunt and find during the long hours alone. Set this routine up before you leave them for long periods, to prepare them for the lifestyle to proceed in the months to come. If you have adopted a puppy in the past few months, then now it is more important than ever to cater for their socialisation and training requirements in order to prevent future behaviour problems. Puppy classes are now available, and many qualified trainers offer one on one session to help with particular issues. Be sure to work with a positive, science-based trainer to ensure the best level of care for your pet.
Take a moment now to recognise your pets essential role in being the comfort and support we needed and reassess how you can give them the best life possible moving forward. Remember Ellerslie Vet Clinic is open and has been throughout lockdown, with the lessening of restrictions we can now provide routine vaccinations, health checks and answer any questions you may have about managing your pets in these challenging times.