Any things about normal life have changed this year. A lot of people are working from home, some have new pets, and kids are learning on iPads instead of a classroom. School is starting this week in Broken Arrow and Bixby. Whether you got a “Covid puppy”, have an older dog, or somewhere in between; your pet is likely having you home and available. However, they need to be able to entertain themselves.
Obviously, only a small amount of the following applies to cats. Since humans serve felines, they are happy to see us occupied or leaving the house. Some younger cats need to be kept busy so their antics and super-hero actions don’t distract us from our primary objective. Having a specified playtime and offering their food in hunting feeders (such as Doc and Phoebe Hunting Mice) can be beneficial in several ways- not only are you satisfying the natural desire for a cat to hunt, but the activity can help burn calories to keep them trim. These hunting feeders also help to keep track of your cat’s intake.
Dogs may be a little more difficult to keep busy. I have always reminded myself “A tired dog is a happy dog”. Unfortunately, exercising when it is 100 degrees with 1000% humidity isn’t always the easiest or healthiest activity. As fall approaches, you don’t have to wake up quite as early in order to get your dog exercise. But mental stimulation is just as important. Spending a few minutes with your dog here and there (maybe between Zoom meetings?) to work on a new trick or reinforce training can help stimulate them. While you need to be focused, you can put some peanut butter or wet food in a Kong (and then freeze it!) or on a lick mat.
Sometimes, even keeping your pet busy isn’t quite enough. Pheromones (hormones that are breathed in) such as Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs can help to calm them down. I like to think of it how I feel when I smell Lavender. Or warm cookies baking in the oven. If you have tried all of these options, it may be best to schedule your pet for an appointment so we can discuss further behavior ideas. Since our veterinarian allows owners in the clinic, not only is the visit less stressful for your pet, it is easier to have a discussion.