When it comes to your beloved pet, routine is everything. From favourite foods and regular walks to their go-to spot for sleep, a pet is most content when they can happily follow a familiar daily pattern.
So, now that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown any semblance of normality out the window, how do we start to reclaim our routine as we slowly return to normal life?
Between home working and schooling, it’s likely that you and your family have put in countless hours of face time with your cat or dog. Now that schools are back and faced with an impending return to the office, it’s time to put some methods in place to ensure the transition back to normal is as smooth as possible for them.
Alleviate Separation Anxiety
Your pet can’t tell you they feel separation anxiety, but it can manifest itself in certain behaviours such as excessive licking, scratching or even chewing the furniture. The key to combating separation anxiety is to gradually allow your pet to become familiar with your absence, rather than walking out the door without warning.
In the weeks leading up to your return to the office, start by leaving your dog or cat alone in a safe space in the house for short periods while you work from a different room. Gradually extend the time they spend alone each day, so they slowly become accustomed to it.
Practicing your “goodbye” routine – even if you’re just going into the next room – is also an effective way to inform them that you’re planning on leaving and won’t be back for a while.
Getting out and about for some exercise with your dog is a great way to alleviate stress – for both of you! Take a long walk in the morning to get your day going and allow your pooch to stretch their legs.
Your dog will enjoy spending time with you in the great outdoors, while the exercise will tire them out significantly, so while you’re hard at work they’ll be snoozing up a storm!
Stock Up on Boredom Busters
Given the fact that one human year is equivalent to seven for your dog, you have to wonder how long an eight-hour period must feel for them.
With day after day of lockdown spent playing with children and pet parents, each 24 hours was filled with endless fun for your pet. But now that’s set to change, it’s only natural that you should have some boredom busters in place for when you head out for the school run or to start your working day.
Enrichment toys are a prime example, as the amount of mental stimulation they offer will tire your pet out.
Treat toys are also a great way to keep your dog entertained – and their appetite satisfied. Stuff their favourite ball or dispenser with delicious nibbles, like these calming healthy treats. Not only will they keep them occupied and keep hunger pangs at bay, but they also contain naturally calming ingredients such as camomile and lemon balm.
Travel and Holidays
With staycations back on the menu now that hospitality is beginning to reopen, many pet owners will opt to bring their cat or dog along for the ride. And while your pet will be delighted to join you on your break, a holiday will unfortunately interfere with their all-important routine.
Thankfully, there are certain stress-reducing methods that combat the effects of this disruption, such as calming dietary supplements. Available in tablet and drop form, VetIQ Serene-UM® controls your pet’s underlying emotional state in stressful situations. Although it combats stress in pets by managing anxiety, it does not have a sedative effect. What’s more, as a natural dietary supplement, it contains a specially formulated blend of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids.
These supplements are also a helpful tool to utilise during the transition back to normality as we once knew it, working to calm your pet and promote an overall feeling of contentment in many situations.
The lack of visitors to your home over the course of the pandemic is likely to also have had an adverse effect on your dog, who will be out of practice with the art of socialising.
If you’re preparing to once again welcome guests to your house, ensure your dog is in a safe space away from lots of noise and new faces. If they want to get involved, allow them to approach gradually when they feel ready, without forcing anything.
A slow and steady approach is key to this transitional period; by putting in the time and effort to ease your pet back into a normal routine, you will soon begin to recognise the content and adventurous personality you once knew.