As much as we would like to, many of us simply can’t afford to stay at home all the time. Most of us must work for a living, which usually means working outside the home. Those of us that have pets worry about leaving our pets at home alone. We worry they aren’t getting the attention, exercise, and care they need. Yet, from dogs to cats to small mammals, reptiles, and birds, there are many ways to keep your pets happy while you’re away.
Leaving Dogs Home Alone
In my personal experience, dogs can be one of the easiest pets to keep entertained from afar. Because of the extensive selection of dog-specific products on the market, dog owners can get creative, ensuring their pets don’t miss them too much while they are away.
The first step to ensuring your dog is happy while you’re away, is to consider what motivates them. Do they like toys? Do they like to sleep all day? Are they food motivated? Put some thought into your pet’s habits, likes, and dislikes, then compile some curated playtime and enrichment tools. It’s a good idea to have a varied selection of toys for your dog. You don’t want to have all of the toys out at all times. Rotate them on a daily or weekly basis so there’s always something fresh and new for your dog to engage with.
If you have an older or less active pet, sometimes a comfy bed is all they need. Whether that bed is YOUR bed is entirely up to you but consider something like Big Barker Beds for your older dogs to support their joints and ensure that they are resting on the best possible surface for their aging bodies.
For the highly food-motivated pups, try an enrichment toy especially made for dogs. Kong toys are awesome since you can fill them with peanut butter and freeze them, helping their treat last longer. Snuffle mats are great too because you can use them with kibble or freeze-dried organ meats. They are a great way to feed dogs, making them “work” for their meal or treat. Working for their reward engages the dog’s instincts and satiates their hunting appetite.
Leaving Cats Home Alone
Similarly, to dogs, there is a large assortment of products on the market to keep cats entertained. My top two choices are cat trees/towers and toys. Within each of those categories, there is a wide selection.
You can get cat trees that stand just a foot or so tall and accommodate one cat up to stands that go up past 6 feet and are designed to accommodate multiple cats.
The selection of cat toys on the market is endless. There are crinkly toys, feather toys, jingle bell toys, and more. I have found that an old sock with a crinkled paper ball in it will do the trick as well. When it comes to cat toys, choose anything that is designed for cats and appeals to their five senses.
In addition to toys and trees, these days you can easily find platforms, shelves, and similar that are designed to attach to your window or wall. Using these platforms and shelves, your cat can watch the world go by out the window. When using these types of products, please keep your cats’ safety in mind. You’ll want to secure all loose hanging strings, blinds, etc when using a window seat or putting a cat tree near a window. When cats get the zoomies, they often don’t realize they are getting tangled until it’s too late.
Leaving Small Animals & Reptiles Home Alone
Small animals deserve the same love and attention as their larger pet counterparts. I always found that, in a pinch, an empty paper towel roll will keep small mammals such as hamsters and mice entertained for hours. You can, of course, also find specially made habitats that include mazes of tubes through which they can climb and play.
While I don’t have a lot of personal experience with reptiles I know there are options out there for them as well. They may not want to catch a ball like a dog but a nice habitat will go a long way in keeping them happy and entertained. Make sure to provide the proper housing, water, substrate, and hide-away spots to ensure your reptile remains at ease.
Fish and birds will also appreciate good play structures in their tank and cage!
Keep in mind that all pets are different. Whatever you choose to make your pets happy make sure you do your research because they all have their preferences and, in the end, keeping your pet happy starts by getting to know what makes them tick.
If you’re planning on being gone for long hours or an extended period, please contact us to learn about our services. We care for your pets when you cannot, and ensuring they are happy, healthy, and well cared for is our mission and our favorite thing to do.
We offer pet sitting and dog walking in Katy, Fulshear, Richmond, Energy Corridor, Memorial, West Houston, and Cypress. To learn more about our team and our services, contact us at email@example.com or (281) 391-1015.