I ran upstairs to grab something and came back down to find my friend hiding on the other side of the island. I wondered how I had missed the memo that we were playing a game of hide-and-seek with the kids. Then I realized, she wasn’t playing with the little people, she was playing with our dog! I remembered the early days before we had kids when my husband and I used to do this same sort of thing. I’d hop in the tub and pull the shower curtain closed and my husband would rile up our dog by saying, “Where’s mommy?” She’d race through our tiny apartment, checking behind every door and in every hallway until she found me.
Life gets in the way of giving our pets what they need sometimes. Work deadlines, school commitments, and sports’ schedules can take over the calendar quickly and make it difficult to fit in walks and quality time with our pets. That’s why it’s important to consider your dog or cat’s needs when approaching weeks that are overly scheduled and hectic. Below, we’re sharing five ways to make time for your pet when life gets busy.
1. Include your pet in family time.
Having dinner outside on the patio? Allow your dog or cat to be outside with you. Going for a walk after dinner? Snap the leash on and take your dog with you. Everyone gathering outside at the pool? Call your dog into the water to swim with you! Playing on the floor with your kids? Invite your dog or cat in on the action. Our dog likes playing, “Where’s Daddy,” which is as simple as my husband covering up with a blanket and her tugging it off of him. Anything you can do to help your pet feel like part of the family will give him the kind of attention he needs.
2. Prepare for long stretches away from home.
If you know you are going to be out for a while, make sure you take your dog for a walk before you leave or give your cat some extra cuddles. Wearing your pet out with walks and playtime can relax him enough to catch up on his z’s while you are away. Maybe he won’t even miss you! Doubtful.
3. Keep things as routine as possible.
If your dog is used to getting a walk every day, try to make sure it still happens even when you are busier than usual. It may mean getting up earlier or changing the time of your walk, but that walk is important to your dog. Walks are good exercise for both of you and can relieve stress and improve your mood as well.
4. Use FaceTime and/or new pet technology to connect.
Try using the PetChatz PawCall. With this cool technology, your pet can “call” you using the call button when you are away. You can then chat with your pet in real-time through the PetChatz HD receiver which you will hang on a wall near the call button. By positioning video cameras throughout your house in your pet’s favorite spots, you can keep tabs on him and occasionally speak to him to reassure him you’ll be back soon.
5. Play music while you are away.
A lot of research has been conducted on the effects of music on animals and the overwhelming conclusion is that playing music can calm dogs and cats and limit destructive behavior that results from separation anxiety. For example, iCalmPet offers streaming services for music that will calm your pet through a variety of triggers, from thunderstorms to city sounds. According to Dr. Marty Becker, iCalm is a must-have for pets who experience stress when their owners are away. "This is part of my pet prescription. As a practicing veterinarian, I've talked about this product on Good Morning America for separation anxiety and noise phobias."
As pet parents, we’ll do just about anything to ensure our four-legged friends are happy when we’re away. No one likes returning home to find a trail of feathers from the couch pillows or one of their favorite shoes in shreds. When it comes to taking good care of our pets, it is important to plan and be proactive so that when life gets busy, our pet’s wellbeing doesn’t suffer.