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Changes in Routines

End of summer is near! For many of us humans that means back to school, back to work and back to our regular routines.

For our pets, however, the change in routine and decrease in activity can mean boredom, frustration and even anxiety.

As we begin to dial our lives down for fall let’s not forget about our furry family members.

Summertime means more outdoor activities.  The kids (if you have kids) are home.  The days are longer, our moods are elevated, and we're more motivated to to go out after work or have friends over for dinner.  Meanwhile, our pets are tagging along for the ride, enjoying all the novelty and variety that comes along with it.  As fall nears, we begin to lose daylight and our lifestyles become less active which means the same for our pets.

Below are some easy ideas to help with the transition from summer to fall as well as spice up those colder months, even as the holidays approach!

Sunshine


Does your pet have a fav sunbathing spot in the house? If not you can create one by making sunny spots more inviting.

be621cef78cddc15a102b0642e910f93.jpgWindow perches or cat trees are an easy way to get more sunshine in our cats lives.  Wade's Cat Trees are fantastic and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes that your cat will love.

For our dogs, consider making one room in your home the “sun room”.  Even if you're in a particularly shady location it is still stimulating for your dog to be in a naturally lit space.  Think about opening the blinds before you leave for the day rather than leave them closed.

How about a midday walk?  Dog walkers aren’t just for older dogs with weak bladders or high energy dogs who need the exercise.  A little midday excursion could be just what your pup needs this fall!

Toys

You know how you got that toy for your cat or dog and they
were super excited about it for about a day? And now it’s collecting dust under the sofa...

Just like us humans, pets have their favorite things but they also need novelty and variety. Once a toy has done it's job it can lose it's appeal, especially if it's been sitting out with all the other toys your pet has lost interest in!

ad1c20d7cfe0e75d7230ad4c73bbd19b.pngMake toys new again.  Giving your pet constant access to the same toys can actually take the fun out of the toy, or, desensitize them to it. Rotate the toys, don’t leave all of the toys out in the open all of the time.

For some dogs this means you might need to hide that toy basket or fill only part of the way with toys/bones/etc.  Hide other toys in a closet somewhere.  Refill old marrow bones with peanut butter, banana or other preferred treat and refreeze them.  Then swap them out and occasionally add a brand new toy to keep things interesting.

Rotate your cats toys too! Get a container with a lid to store kitty toys.  Sprinkle catnip in the container and shake it up.  When it's time to switch out toys, those stored in the container will be extra exciting because now they have catnip on them.

A NOTE about cats and toys:
Toys come in different textures and make different sounds.  One cat may prefer toys with a little bell jingling inside over the ones that click and clack.  Some cats love the feathery toys and others like the crunchy sounding ones. Before giving up on a seemingly uninspired or unmotivated kitty, try some different types of toys and observe what characteristics might be more appealing to your cat.

Slow feeders

You already feed your dog and cat everyday… why not just put the food in a different container rather than a bowl?

124b673500ebfe7a9b52cf46472ef9dd.jpgWe all love kongs and while kongs are indeed the bees knees, even they can become old hat if we over use them.  Just like toys, it's a good idea to rotate slow feeders which is the most convenient way to add a little variety and fun to your dogs day.

For dogs, the Snoop by Planet Dog is a popular new interactive toy that you and your dog will love.  Easy to load and easy to clean!  Rotate between that, a kong and the Green by Northmate and, voila!

For cats, the Cat Fishbowl and Slimcat are 2 of several interactive feeders offered by Petsafe to entertain and enrich your kitties.  For especially active cats or cats who get overstimulated easily, a more zen-like feeder may be a better match so check out the Tiger Diner by Pioneer Pet.

One last tip about feeding cats...
Seeking and discovery are both healthy behaviors for cats to practice.  You might also try feeding small amounts of food in multiple places thru out the home. After your cat gets the hang of things, and if you have an especially food motivated cat, you can try changing the location of some of those bowls to keep things fresh!