It’s easy to become consumed with fear or doubt when it comes to how your pet spends his or her time when you’re at work or school. To be sure, many animals relish the chance to spend as much time as possible with the people they love best. If it’s been a full summer, your pet may feel a bit lonely. With our guide to keeping a lonely pet fulfilled and content, you won’t have to worry when the fall calendar starts to fill up.
Keeping it Real
Many pets are well accustomed to their owner’s long absences. Other animals don’t cope well with being home alone, and they may exhibit some of the following behaviors:
- Destructive chewing, scratching, or digging
- Barking or howling repeatedly
- Over or under grooming
- Soiling inside the house
- Obvious anxiety when you prepare to leave
- Lethargy or loss of interest in activities that were previously exciting
- Withdrawn and quiet
- Eating or drinking less
Some pets suffer from intense separation anxiety that may require prescription medication. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns about your pet’s behavior.
Setting Up for Success
Interactive toys are a great source of fun, entertainment, and productivity in your absence. Puzzle toys or treat toys can challenge your pet’s IQ and even tire him or her out. Check out toys hidden inside other toys or ones that talk or give some kind of stimulating feedback, such as lights, buzzing, or talking.
Don’t feel limited to chew toys (although they certainly have their place). Toys like Kongs are a great place to start and they give rewards to a curious/hungry pet.
The Lonely Pet Club
It might be a great time to adopt a friend for your pet. While this is a huge decision, an extra buddy for your lonely pet can provide loads of fun and companionship. Of course, only make this choice if you’re confident you and your pet are ready for such a big change.
Other Helpful Methods
Your lonely pet may also benefit from:
- Training – Work on desensitizing your pet by repeating the pattern of leaving and returning home. Start with short intervals, increasing the time between leaving and returning when you’re sure your pet isn’t getting upset.
- Breaks – If you’re unable to pop in at lunch or on breaks throughout the day, schedule a dog walker or pet sitter to stop by. Alternatively, doggie playcare or daily boarding facilities provide socialization, play, and stimulation while you’re separated.
- Gotta go! – Doggie doors or pet flaps can offer a great sense of relief to a pet who’s home alone. If you have a secure fenced in yard, this may be a terrific option for you and your pet.
- Sounds – Leaving the TV or radio on during the day can soothe a lonely pet. Some pets even have clear preferences for a certain show, character, or personality!
- Exercise – Whenever you get back home, give your pet the opportunity to work out with you. Burn off extra energy that has built up throughout the day.