New year, new schedule! Even if your routine doesn’t change too much in January, a return to normalcy is bound to confuse your pet after the holidays. Here’s how to help him adjust.
A new year means lots of changes and many resolutions. While goals like going to the gym or remodeling your home can help you grow, these changes can have a significant impact on your pets. It’s widely known that many cats (and some dogs) hate change, so if you’re planning a move, trying to switch things up, or modifying your routine in any way, it may result in some internal turmoil for your animal companions.
Here’s what you can do to help him adapt:
1. Make changes as slowly as possible
While you might have the urge to “hit the ground running” in the New Year, healthy change comes slowly and surely. This is true both for people and animals. Do your best to ease your pet into any major changes coming his way. For instance, if you’re planning on getting another dog or another cat, make sure your current animal is properly socialized and introduce your new cat or dog slowly. If you’ve signed up for an evening class that’s going to keep you away from your pet for an extra couple hours every night, hire a dog walker and introduce them before you start the course.
2. Be consistent (yes, it matters!)
For the first couple of weeks, stick to your new schedule as best as possible. Make sure that it stays similar on weekends as well. Consistency is extremely important to help a dog or a cat adjust to a new routine.
3. Ignore unwanted behavior
A change in routine can cause your pet to act out. If this happens, ignore unwanted behaviors and focus instead on positively reinforcing correct actions. For example, if you’ve just started working from home, your canine friend mine whine to go for a walk during your work hours. As much as it might bother you, just ignore this behavior and praise him when he stops pestering.
4. Make your pets feel that they matter
A new routine can cause pets to feel lonely and neglected. Make sure to block off time to spend with him in your new schedule. Even if it’s just half an hour of quality time each day, it can mean the world to a dog or cat. Whether you both cuddle up on the couch, go for a walk or get out and play, pets are always healthier and happier when they get plenty of attention and love. It’s widely known that dogs are less anxious if they get some morning activity, so going for a longer walk when you wake up can be a nice change to implement.
5. Give it time
It takes time for pets to adjust to change – some more than others. Consistency and patience will help your animal companion through the process.
6. Reach for a stress support tool
If your new routine makes your pet anxious, there are some things you can do to alleviate it. Try playing soothing music, such as Through a Dog’s Ear or Through a Cat’s Ear – playlists specifically designed for calming pets. You can also get your dog or cat a compression shirt. Around 80% of the dogs that wear calming vests are considerably less anxious. Of course, a healthy lifestyle – regular exercise, mental stimulation and a healthy diet – are also key to combatting stress!
There’s nothing wrong with “starting fresh” in the New Year. Just be sure to use these tactics so your animal companion isn’t negatively affected by your new routine!