Things are gradually getting back to normal, and what better time to talk about helping your dog to adjust to this new normal than Loneliness Awareness Week, which runs from 14th – 18th June.
Whilst you might be looking forward to normality returning, this will come as a shock to pets up and down the country; which is why we’ve put together some top tips to help your four-legged friend adjust as your return to work…
Start new routines with your dog
Over the last year, Covid-19 has meant that it’s likely that your canine companion has got used to having you at home most of the time, therefore it’s important to get back into old habits gradually.
Try to slowly return to your old or normal routine. This includes trying to match when you would normally go for a walk and the amount of time that you would spend on a walk, feeding times, sleeping patterns etc; which will help include some aspects of normality to their day when you do return to work.
It’s also a good idea to start leaving them at home alone more frequently, gradually building the time you’re away for up.
Be aware of the signs of a stressed dog
A stressed dog may include signs such as:
- Whining and whimpering
- Destructive behaviour such a chewing
- Holding their tail between their legs
- Constant lip licking and yawning
It’s important that you can spot these signs to prevent stress levels escalating further than they need to.
How to keep a dog calm
One of the main things you can do to help keep your four-legged friend calm is to give them plenty of exercise before and after you go out. This could involve taking them for a long walk, going for a run, or playing a game such as fetch. This will help to tire them out and make them less restless whilst you’re away; remember that mental stimulation and physical exercise are equally as important.
Make sure they have “been to the toilet” just before you leave to reduce the likelihood of any accidents whilst you are out. You may want to ask a friend, family member or neighbour to pop by whilst you are out to take them out again during the day.
It’s a good idea not to make a big deal of leaving and coming home; try to make it is normal as possible. Otherwise, it will become a bigger thing for your dog, which could result in them struggling more when it comes to being left alone.
Try and take their mind off the fact they are alone and keep them busy whilst you are out. Puzzle feeders can be a great way to keep inquisitive minds occupied! We recommend stuffing a Kong with Naturediet to keep them busy – you can even freeze it to help cool them down on hot days; you can also do the same with a Lickimat. Just remember to make sure the product is suitable for dogs and doesn’t pose a choke hazard to your dog.
Using a crate can be very reassuring. If yours is already crate trained, then make sure they have access to this throughout the day; they will see this as their “safe place”.
Some dogs find it calming to have music playing whilst their humans are out. This can help them to feel as though they are not alone and can also soften sounds from outside that might unsettle them. Spotify now has a page to help you create a playlist for your pet, to help tackle dog loneliness. Simply pick your pet, tell Spotify a bit about your dog to help them choose the playlist “vibe”, then add their name and photo.
What alternative is there to leaving a dog home alone?
Some simply don’t cope very well with being left alone. If this is the case, then doggy day care might just be the answer.
There are doggy day care centre’s all over the country. From larger kennels where they can socialise with other pooches, to dog sitters, or luxury dog hotels; you should be able to find something to suit yours.
Not sure how your dog copes when you’re out of the house?
Do you ever wonder what they get up to whilst you’re not at home? You don’t need to wonder any more when you have a dog camera. These are brilliant for keeping an eye on your four-legged friend whilst you’re out. It’s as simple as checking on them from the comfort of your own desk, for reassurance that they are calm and happy (but beware, you might also catch them in the act of their cheeky antics!).
If you do decide to invest in one of these cameras, don’t forget to tag us on social media in any amusing content you come across using @naturedietpets and #FeelGoodDogFood.
Enjoy your time together
We hope you both don’t struggle too much with the transition of going back to work; we know you humans miss your fur-babies as much as they miss you!
For the time that you do get with your dog, enjoy it and make the most of it with your best friend!