We typically always look for signs that our pets may be lonely or need additional companionship, but it is equally important to consider whether your dog or cat has enough space.
With COVID-19 causing many of us to start working from home, our pets are spending more time with us than ever before. Most might think how lucky their dogs and cats are, but pets, like people, also need alone time. Even though you now have many hours to devote to your companion, keep in mind that they may occasionally need some space. Even the most social dogs and cats who truly cherish spending time with their human companions need some time apart to rest and be alone.
One important step in making sure your pets have their alone time is creating a space in your home that is a ‘pet only’ area. This can be a cat tree or a dog crate, but everyone in the house including children must respect this space and stay away from it. That way, when a pet wants to be alone, they can use this space freely and know that no one in the household is going to intrude on their territory. A common way this is done is by providing a dog crate with the door kept open during the day, so that your dog may go in an out freely as he or she sees fit.
Additionally, look for cues from your pet when you are interacting. Whether you are training, playing, or snuggling, look for any cues that signal that your pet has had enough. If they get up and walk away, go to their safe space, or seem evasive, it may be time to put an end to your interactions.
Although dogs are pack animals, they still need space, just like people do. While it is wonderful that families are home all day to spend time with their pets, it can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you have a large family with young kids. Be mindful that as hard as the lock-down is for you and your family, it is also affecting your pet’s environment as well. If you keep this in mind, your pet should be able to adjust more easily to having you around all day long.