Ways to Make Your Pets Comfortable While They’re Home Alone
Here's how to make sure your pets are safe and stress-free when home alone.
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Burn Off Their Extra Energy
Preparing your pets to be left alone should start with exercise. It’s important they get their excess energy out. This will help them be calm and relaxed when home alone. It will also prevent your pet from tearing up your house while you’re gone. So, take your dog for a walk, spend some time dangling a toy in front of your cat, or let them run around the yard before you leave. This is how much exercise your dog really needs.
Get Them Used To Being Alone
Make sure you designate a space for your pets to stay in while they’re home alone, whether its a room, a properly sized crate or cage, or a cornered-off section of the house. Clear the room of any hazards and fill it with things your pets will need to be comfortable. This can include food, water, toys, a bed or other space that’s quiet and cozy.
Next, you’ll have to start training your pet to be alone. Central California SPCA suggests leaving your pets alone in small increments of time that you gradually increase to get them used to it. You can leave them in a certain part of the house or stay outside while they are inside. These are the hidden dangers you need to know about to keep your pets safe.
Get Them Into a Routine
Try to leave them on a set schedule every day so they can get used to a routine. Make sure you are calm and not overly emotional when you leave so they don’t get nervous or sad. It’s also a good idea to give them a treat right before you leave the house so soften the blow of your absence. This might even make them look forward to “goodbye” time.
You’ll want to make sure your dog is trained before you leave them alone. Get tips on how to train a puppy here.
Leave Your Scent
You can create the illusion that you are still with your pet by leaving your scent behind for them. Leaving something that smells like you will help comfort your pets, especially your dog, when they are home alone. Try placing your pillowcase or t-shirt over a stuffed animal or pillow so they can cuddle with it when you are away.
Treat Toys and Dispensers
Treats are a good way to keep your pets happy and distracted when they are home alone. KONG creates toys, for both cats and dogs, that hide treats (catnip for cats and snacks for dogs) inside the toy.
You can also get an electronic treat dispenser. These gadgets allow you to dispense treats remotely on your Smartphone or other devices or dispense treats according to a set schedule. Some of them have cameras so you can watch your pets while they have their snack to ensure that they are safe. The Furbo will toss treats out so your pets can have fun running after them.
Experts say that music can calm your pets and help them to feel safe and comfortable. So, you might want to consider leaving music on for them when they are home alone
“A few studies have been done specifically in dogs and other companion animals that support the beneficial effects of certain music on these species,” Dr. Mark Verdino, senior vice president and chief of veterinary staff at North Shore Animal League America, told PetMD.
There is music that is specifically made for your pets. You can buy whole albums for your pets and also find music to play on YouTube.
Check-In and Say Hello
If you think your pet might be missing you (or you’re missing your pet), video chat them and say hello. PetChatz Digital Daycare is a more extravagant purchase, but it does a lot of really cool stuff.
PetChatz Digital Daycare has a two-way audio and video camera that allows you to talk to your pet and see what they are doing while they view you from a screen. The PawCall allows your pet to tap a button that alerts you when they want to talk to you. It can also video record your pet’s activity, stream DOGTV for your pets to watch and it can dispense treats and aromatherapy scents.
Build a Fun Zone
Keep your pets active during the day by building a fun zone for them. This can be a cat tree (shown here) that your kitties can climb up and play in or a bird play gym with multiple perches and things to swing from.
As for Fido, make sure your dog has access to a place where he can look out a window and be entertained. You can also create a scavenger hunt for your dogs by hiding treats around the house for them to find.
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Get Them a Buddy
You might want to consider getting your pet a companion if they’re too lonely while home alone. First, you’ll want to do some research and consult your vet about good companions breeds for your specific pet.
You can also get a mock companion. The Living World Life-Size Singing Parakeet sings a song to interact with your bird when it detects motion.
The SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy (shown here) is a behavior toy for dogs that has a pulsing heartbeat and heat pack. It helps to comfort nervous dogs by mimicking a live companion pup.
There are lots of products you can buy if your pets are experiencing anxiety when they are home alone. You can ask your vet to recommend calming supplements for dogs, cats and birds. Aromatherapy can also help to soothe your pet. You can grab a spray and douse your pet’s favorite plushie with it or use an aromatherapy device.
The ThunderEase Dog Calming Pheromone Diffuser (shown here) gives off a mother’s natural nursing pheromones to soothe your dog.
The Sentry Calming Collar for cats also gives off pheromones and has lavender and chamomile fragrance.
Our pets can also be calmed by vests, known as “thunder jackets,” that are used to reduce anxiety in animals.