Most people follow routines in their daily life, whether in the morning, at night or during the workday. These routines provide stability day after day, week after week. In the same way humans like to follow routines, our furry friends do, too!
Pets need routines just as much as humans do for a sense of calm and safety. An act as simple as refilling their food bowl at the same time every day is enough to make them feel comfortable in their living space. Unfortunately, when these routines change, pets often feel anxious or scared.
This just goes to show how important routines are for your pet’s wellbeing. Still not convinced? Here are a few major reasons why you should implement solid routines for your cat or dog.
A sense of security
Small changes are part of life and nothing to fret about, but your pets don’t know that. As far as dogs and cats are concerned, their whole world just got flipped upside down!
Routines help our furry friends feel secure because they know what happens next in their day. Opening the pantry could get those tails wagging because your pets associate it with feeding time. Cats might scurry to their favorite napping spots as you’re getting ready to leave the house because they know it will be quiet and calm. Sticking to those routines helps your pet feel comfortable in your space and assures them their needs will be met.
Establishing a routine is also helpful when your pets are adjusting to bigger changes, like when you begin new hours at your job or when your family moves into a new home. If your pets are going through a major transition, you can help them feel more at ease by providing a stable environment and routine they can rely on throughout the day.
Start by creating familiar safe spaces with a bed, blankets and toys where they can rest. Walks and play sessions should happen around the same time every day. However your pet’s routine looks, make sure it’s predictable and offers stability as they get used to the big change.
Healthy dietary habits
Pets need a consistent feeding schedule not only for the sake of routine but also to maintain a healthy digestive system. Beyond your pet getting unusually hungry if their feeding time changes, waiting too long between meals could also cause major health issues like fatty liver disease.
Be sure to check with your vet for their recommended feeding amounts and timing based on your pet’s needs. The last part of a healthy feeding schedule involves a consistent location for your pet’s food bowls. This way, they know exactly where to go when it’s time for dinner.
Constantly moving bowls around will confuse your pet and disrupt their routine. Imagine if someone put the coffee machine where you couldn’t find it. That simple change would really throw you off in the morning! Pets need a feeding station they can rely on so their day goes as smoothly as possible.
Reduced separation anxiety
Getting into the habit of spending quality time with your pet before leaving for work is something that’s good for their emotional wellbeing. Our furry friends can sense when we’re about to leave, and they’re not always happy about it. Even though you’re only gone for a few hours, it could feel like weeks to them! If you care for a shelter pet, they could be dealing with past trauma from shifting from one owner to the next. In some pets, your leaving could even trigger severe separation anxiety.
Consistent walks, snuggles and play sessions reaffirm that you’re not going anywhere. Show your cat or dog some love with snuggle time on the couch or a walk before you leave. Routine quality time is the best way to soothe your furry friend and help them overcome separation anxiety.
Stronger emotional bonds
Maintaining a consistent routine will also strengthen the bond between you and your pets. Our furry friends need to get used to the new family dynamic and build trust—especially if they’re coming home for the first time. Routines can help establish these things.
If you stick to daily training and play sessions, over time, your cat or dog will begin to feel more at ease and learn to love you immensely.
Keep it consistent
Humans appreciate a good routine, and so do our pets. They rely on a consistent schedule, especially during uncertain times, because it gives them something to hold on to when the world around them changes. As a pet parent, it’s your job to reassure your furry friend that a little bit of change is nothing to worry about and that you’ll always be there for them.