Some dogs adjust well when they experience a lot of environmental change, while others can find it difficult to cope. Much like children or even us adults, dogs can benefit greatly from having a set daily routine. A routine can alleviate stress and anxiety your dog might be struggling with. And with the current health crisis, our team at East Valley Animal Hospital knows that finding a new normal until home-isolation ends might be challenging—especially if your dog has begun to show signs of behavior regression or stress.
The kids are home from school; you might be working from home; and who knows when the toilet paper is going to run out? When we are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, we barely have the energy to take care of ourselves, let alone our pets. Here are just a few simple tips on how to give Fido a little stability in his daily routine:
1. Scheduled Feeding
Most dogs find it difficult to exercise portion control when they are offered an unlimited amount of food. In addition to weight management, a feeding schedule can help you know when your pup needs to relieve himself. If your dog isn’t already on a feeding schedule—either once or twice a day—we highly recommend implementing one.
2. Regular Walks
If you live in a densely populated area right now, getting outside for a walk might not be a feasible option. But if you live somewhere quarantine restrictions aren’t as tight, walking the dog is probably considered an “essential” outing. Most adult dogs (depending on the size) need to use the bathroom every 6-8 hours. Instead of sending Fido to the backyard to do his business, try to give him at least two long walks a day where he can get some exercise and relieve himself at the same time.
3. Training Time
No matter how well-behaved your dog is, he could probably use a little training. Set aside 15 minutes a day where you teach Fido a new trick, train him to respond to your verbal cues or work on getting him to use his crate without resistance. Have plenty of treats on hand and be sure to give lots of positive feedback.
4. Designated Sleep Area
Dogs need a lot of sleep! 12 -14 hours to be specific. You may have a few dog beds in your house depending on how large it is. If your pup has a space(s) where he can curl up and get the rest he needs, then he’ll be less likely to cause trouble.
At first, giving your dog a structured routine may require a little effort. But once it becomes second nature for you and your dog, you’ll be thankful it’s in place. If your dog is struggling with behavior issues or anxiety, give us a call at East Valley Animal Hospital. We not only work with pets, but we have furry companions of our own at home and we know the struggle is real.