OK, all you pets out there: By a show of paws, how many of you are looking forward to being left alone all day while all your playmates are back in school or at work? Wow! We’re not seeing too many paws in the air! Well maybe a few cat paws -- but pooch paws, not so much! Truth be told, our pets aren’t necessarily big fans of the old empty nest thing. In fact, the advent of autumn can bring on big changes that don’t always set well with our furry friends.
Here are a few tips that can help your pet adjust to those changes:
- Routine: Just like us, our pets are creatures of habit. They are used to being walked, played with and fed at specific times throughout the day. In fact, many pet owners report that their pets have an uncanny knack for knowing exactly when it’s time to be fed or walked or when it’s time for bed or even when it’s time to get up! Mess with their schedule and you’re bound to hear about it. Knowing this, it’s a good idea to try to maintain a consistent year round routine at least as it relates to walks, feeding and bedtimes.
- Exercise: It’s important to keep up those walks even as the weather starts to turn cooler. Regular exercise helps your pet burn off energy and helps ensure they will nap while you are away. It is also a great way for your pet to spend quality time with you. A special warning for those of you who take walks in the woods with your pet. Autumn is the time of year when snakes start their preparations for hibernation so they may be more likely to bite. Be sure to keep a close eye on your surroundings so you can keep both you and your pet safe.
- Quality one on one time: When we return to our autumn work and school activities, we often find ourselves so wrapped up in those activities that our pets are almost completely left out. Remember, our pets are social animals and they crave our attention too. Be sure to make time for some quality one on one or play time with your pet each day. They love you bunches and need that special time with you.
- Plan ahead for separation anxiety: If your pet is used to having you and your family around all the time, start the separation process early to avoid potential issues with your pet going “cold turkey” with separation from the family. Start by leaving your pet for short periods of time and then gradually increase that time as you see your pet is tolerating your absence well. If while you are gone your pet has eaten the sofa, two chairs and all of your magazines your pet is definitely not ready to be left to its own devices. In all seriousness, most pets will tolerate separation pretty well with training and positive reinforcement. If their behavior is less than stellar while you are gone, we have a few more tips that we’ll share in a minute. There are, however a few pets that genuinely suffer from sever separation anxiety when left alone. If you feel that could be the case with your pet, please read this excellent article regarding separation anxiety.
- Crate training: Keeping your pet in a crate while you are away can not only help keep your pet out of trouble but it can also become your pet’s safe place. Just as with separation training, you should start crate training well in advance. Stashing your pet in a crate on the same day everyone heads off to school and work could actually create more anxiety for your pet. Working up to it gradually will help ensure that when the big day comes your pet will feel safe and secure in his crate surroundings.
- Pet sitter or Doggy Day Care: Another great option for helping your pets adjust to the autumn routine is a trusted pet sitter or doggy day care. If you opt to go with a pet sitter be sure you have carefully vetted the individual you hire so you can be confident your pet is being well cared for. A doggy day care service like that offered by All About Paws could be an even better alternative as your pet will be cared for by trained staff in a safe, playful and stimulating environment.
Just remember, as humans we often adapt quickly to changes in our routine. But our furry friends really like their routine and they love having us around. We hope the tips we have provided will help your pet enjoy a stress free fall.
All About Paws is a boarding, grooming, and doggie daycare service provider in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Located next to Ashby Animal Clinic,trusted veterinary clinic for over 40 years.