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Changes to routine can cause anxiety and stress for our furry friends. Luckily, experts from Vets4Pets have shared their top tips on how to help your cats and dogs adjust to the new working from home measures.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, you and your pet’s daily routines probably looked different to how they are now.
Sticking to a routine can help reduce stress in cats and dogs. Having a regular sleeping pattern, consistent meal times and planning time for exercise is a great way to keep your pets relaxed and happy. This prevents your pets from wondering when they’ll be let in and out, when dinner is going to appear or when it is time for a walk.
Our pets may have a positive impact on our mental health, but it’s not always the same vice versa. A busy household or too much attention can cause stress for our pets. It’s important to remind them of their independence. If your pet is used to getting some alone time during the day, make sure to replicate this by working in a different room or allowing access to their bed or crate for their usual amount of time.
Dr Samantha Butler-Davies, Veterinary Clinical Services Manager at Vets4Pets: “Many pets thrive with predictability and can find a change of routine unsettling. Regardless of whether you have an older or a younger pet, it’s possible they will feel overwhelmed or become more dependent with people being in the house for longer periods of time.”
While working from home means we’re spending more time in the house, it doesn’t mean we have more time to spend with our pets. Dogs and cats can get bored just like you and me. So, to avoid destroyed soft furnishings, scratched furniture or chewed off cupboard handles, supply your pets with plenty of boredom-busting puzzles and toys so they can entertain themselves safely while you’re working.
If you are concerned about your pets are exhibiting behaviour related to boredom, speak to your vet who should able to offer some more specific help.
Christmas is a time to be cosy, but make sure your pet is comforable too. As the weather gets colder, it is likely that you’ll be using your central heating a little more. Take care that it doesn’t become too warm for your pet. This is particularly important if your pet is elderly or overweight, as they can overheat in a very hot room.
Central heating can also encourage fleas to thrive so make sure to regularly wash your pet’s bed and blankets on a 40-degree wash, as well as hoovering the places they like to relax.
On the flip side, if you are worried about your pet getting too cold, make sure to have plenty of blankets and comfy beds for them to snuggle into to help keep them warm.
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The more time you spend at home, the better dogs, in particular, are at spotting the subtle cues and signals that you’re heading out, and this can cause them to feel stressed and anxious.
To help avoid this, it’s important you don’t make a big fuss when you leave or come back to your pet. Instead, greet them calmly once you’ve got indoors and have put your keys away – showing them it is okay to be alone, and helping them to feel more relaxed.
Dr Butler-Davies says that the “key thing” is to introduce these practices early “as you can help them to adapt quickly.”
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