Back to School Blues - Pet Boredom
As mums and dads across the country get ready for the return of school, our pet population faces a pitfall of possible boredom. Pet Insurance Australia takes a look at the ‘back-to-school blues’ many four-legged family companions will be feeling in the coming weeks.
“Stationary, school bags, lunchboxes, and uniforms will be on the minds of many parents across Australia this week,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “However, it’s also important to ready the family pet for the impact this may have on their wellbeing.”
Pet Insurance Australia notes that many pets will be feeling lonely and possibly bored when all the fun and buzz of the holiday period comes to an end.
“For many Aussie pets, they have enjoyed endless days lazing beside their loving family,” Crighton says. “This week will see an end to this scenario, so pet households need to be prepared to ensure their pet is entertained and happy when they are not at home.”
TOP TIPS FOR BEATING BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES
1. Busting the boredom – get planning now for some activities for your dog to do while they are alone at home. Consider puzzle treat toys or fun ‘home-alone’ activities for both cats and dogs.
2. Routine – get back into your work routine now. Meaning those early morning walks and afternoon walks at the regular working hour times. Also feeding times. For cats; consider having a certain time of day that you will play with them and introduce this now.
3. Separation Anxiety – if your pet is known to suffer from separation anxiety now is the time to start with small outings away from your pet. If you notice any unusual incidents it’s important to seek veterinary advice quickly.
4. Toys – rotate your toys. Grab some new toys for 2020 and rotate these daily. Remember these are your pets’ home-alone toys, so remembering to pick them up and remove them from your pet when you arrive home is important.
5. Doggy Daycare – if you know your pet struggles to be alone, consider enlisting the services of a Doggy Daycare service, or pet walking service a few days a week.
“For cats and dogs, it’s also a good idea to ensure collars and tags are up-to-date and correctly fitted,” Crighton advises. “Also check fences and cat enclosures for any damage or escape points.”
Enriching your dog’s outside environment is important around this time of year. This can include simple steps such as including sandpits for digging or a little safe water play.
“Also ensure your pools are securely enclosed or consider popping a dog safe ramp into the pool for when you are not at home.”
If you also have neighbours who spend a lot of time at home, it’s a great idea to check-in with them about your pet.
“Checking with your neighbours that your dog is not barking all day or being a nuisance when you are not at home will give you a good gauge of how your pet is coping, and also keep you in good light, especially with non-pet owning neighbours.”
There are many great toys and devices available to pet owners that can help this transition from holidays to workdays. From interactive cameras that can also deliver treats, to high-tech dog and cat toys that provide hours of entertainment.
“The great thing is; when busting boredom is that it doesn’t have to cost any money,” Crighton says. “From allowing a little bit of mess, like cardboard boxes being destroyed, to adding in some training before you head off to work.”
SYMPTOMS OF BOREDOM
· Destructive behaviours – cue mum’s best shoes
· Over excitement
· Unwanted behaviours – ripping up the bin/cushions, etc
· Unusual behaviours – sudden tail chasing/chewing feet
“If you notice any of these symptoms and your pet does not respond to some easy boredom-busting techniques, extra training or exercise, it’s important you call in the experts.”
Feature picture by Tony Trocino