Although there have been struggles over the past year, it has been like winning the lottery for many pets. To be able to spend every minute of the day with their beloved owner at home, what more could they ask for?! Endless playtime for our cats and frequent walks for our dogs (much to our pets' delight!).
I'm sure most pet owners would agree they have formed a stronger bond with their pet during this time. Not only have we continued to care for them, but pets have been our continual source of support and much-needed companionship during a time of uncertainty. It's safe to say there has been a mutual benefit.
But as the world slowly returns to normal and the end is in sight, one question can be overlooked: what does this mean for our furry friends when they are now so used to our constant company?
How to best prepare your pet for you returning to work?
Keep them entertained
It's unrealistic to think that your pet will sleep the entire time you're away (even cats), and so leaving some sources of self-entertainment is a must. In particular, stimulating toys help to keep them distracted from your absence. An extra tip is to provide new and exciting toys right before you leave, so it's always something to look forward to and helps them cope when you're going out.
An excellent option for your dog is an interactive puzzle toy https://properpalspets.com/products/dog-puzzle-toys-increase-interactive-slow-dispensing-feeding-pet-dog-training-games-feeder?variant=38569843097785. Puzzles will keep your dog distracted as they attempt to figure out how to crack it, especially when rewarded with treats for their efforts. Fellow pet owners know that treats are the key to our fur babies' hearts.
For your feline friend, an interactive toy that will keep them away from staring out the window is recommended, such as this lifting teaser ball toy. https://properpalspets.com/products/new-electric-cat-toy-funny-cat-teaser-ball-toy-automatic-lifting-spring-rod?variant=38569824157881. It is sure to grab their attention (like dangling a piece of string) and can be clipped onto furniture or their climbing tower for safety. Or this super-popular Flopping Fish Cat Toy, https://properpalspets.com/products/moving-fish-cat-toy-electronic-flopping-cat-kicker-fish-toy-catnip-fish-toys-for-cats-pet-supplies-funny-chew-toy-for-indoor-cat-cat-toys?variant=39653080531129 which will no doubt pique their innate hunting instincts.
Have a place for them to relax
As mentioned in one of our previous blog posts on Anti-Anxiety Pet Beds, a soft space can help provide comfort to our pets when we cannot be there for them. This is especially important for pets that love a daytime nap, as sleeping time often occurs while we're out of this house as a way to build up energy levels up in preparation for play when we return.
I have linked two beds from our previous article below. The cat sleeping bag is particularly excellent for our feline friends who often like to hideaway.
Implement a routine
Pets don't tend to control their schedules even though they thrive from a consistent routine. Therefore, making gradual changes before returning to work will help prevent your pet from dealing with the change all at once. Thinking ahead about your working routine and how this will affect your pets feeding, playing, and walking times, can help you start implementing these changes beforehand. For example, if your local lockdown rules permit you can try to leave the house in the morning for an hour or two before you return to work. As cats and dogs are very sensitive to our moods, we should also speak to them in happy tones before we leave, making it a more positive experience. Act casually like this is normal because it soon will become the new normal!
Overall, although our lives will likely become increasingly busy again, we must ensure our pets still have quality time with us. Cats and dogs adapt fairly quickly to change. Think back to when you first brought them home and wondered if they would ever settle in, but they shortly adapted and are now part of the family. I hope that some of these tips can help with the transition back to normality, whatever that means. If we provide them with the right environment in our absence, our relationships with our pets may not need to change as much as we think!