Between work, school, errands, kids and family obligations, life can get hectic! Because our pets are social creatures, a cat or dog home alone for long periods of time may develop troubling issues, like separation anxiety, and destructive behaviors, like chewing or house soiling.
You should never leave your pet alone for long periods of time. If you are absent for a few hours a day, however, and your pet still displays signs of anxiety, you may want to try some products that will help keep them calm and occupied.
Here are some ingenious products and toys for cats and dogs who are left alone:
Cat and Dog Calming Chews
For cats or dogs who seem nervous or anxious when left home alone, calming chews can help take the edge off. Calming chews are designed to help alleviate your pet’s stress levels, while keeping his energy levels normal.
For a cat calming chew, Pet Naturals of Vermont cat chews are natural calming chews flavored with chicken liver to help pique your kitty’s interest in times when he might be stressed. For dog calming chews, Dr. Lyon’s Calming Aid supplement offers a tasty way to relax your pup thanks to the natural cheese and liver flavors.
Calming chews also can be helpful when given prior to visits to the vet or groomer.
Cat Window Perch
For cats who love to watch the outside world, give them a personal front-row seat with a cat window perch. Besides being a great spot to seek out birds, squirrels and other interesting creatures, this perch provides plenty of sunshine—great for kitties who enjoy warm cat naps!
For a perch option, check out K&H Pet Products EZ Mount window kitty sill cradle. This cradle perch is designed to securely attach to any window within seconds. Plus, for cats who enjoy privacy, this perch can be kept out of reach from nosy dogs and kids.
Automatic Litter Box
Nothing saves time like an automatic litter box. Just think of the hours you’ll free up by not having to scoop the box multiple times a day. Most automatic litter boxes can be used with any commercially available, fine clumping litter.
Some can be set to clean at different intervals after your pet has used the box. The PetSafe Simply Clean automatic litter box sifts litter around the clock, resulting in a completely fresh litter box every hour.
Automatic Pet Feeder
Let a pet’s food dish go empty and you’ll never hear the end of it. But if you work long or irregular hours, it can be hard to make sure your dog or cat gets fed on time.
An automatic cat feeder or automatic dog feeder is the perfect solution for your pets. One option is the PetSafe Smart Feed automatic pet feeder, which allows you to program up to 12 meals according to your pet’s schedule.
Pet Water Fountain
Consider also picking up a dog or cat water fountain or gravity waterer which are designed to provide dogs and cats with fresh water all day and night.
This might be an especially good purchase for cat parents as veterinarians will tell you that most cats don’t drink enough water. Some pet parents try to encourage their cats to drink more water by refreshing the bowl throughout the day, but this can be hard if you’re away from home much. The constant motion of the water might also encourage your kitty to drink.
The Drinkwell multi-tier pet fountain is one solution that provides continuous fresh, cool water. Pets can drink from the top or bottom reservoir.
Toys for Pets Left Alone
Dogs and cats love to play. While some toys require a pet parent to participate in the game, many interactive toys are designed to entertain pets without human involvement.
One of the best toys for dogs left alone is the Kong Classic dog toy. This heavy-duty rubber toy is hollow, so you can stuff it with tasty goodies—including your pup’s breakfast!—for your dog to lick and chew.
Simply mix together his kibble and canned food, stuff the Kong full and stick it in the freezer overnight. Before leaving for work in the morning, pull the stuffed Kong out and give it to your dog. You also can try coating the inside of the Kong toy with peanut butter and slipping crunchy treats inside. Presto! Hours of entertainment as he works to get the food out.
Most toys for cats left alone capitalize on the feline’s love of the hunt. Interactive puzzle toys, like the Trixie Activity Fun board, let your cat use his brain and paws to solve the problem and get treats as a reward, which requires virtually no human interaction. You also can load these types of toys with his dry cat food to make him work for his meal, making mealtime interesting and fun.
These products aren’t a pass to forgo playtime with your pet when you get home. Be sure to provide your dog or cat with plenty of attention, affection and exercise before and/or after you leave. If you will be away most of the day, hire a dog walker or pet sitter to stop in midday to exercise and play with your pet in your home.
When you take the time to ensure your pet’s exercise and attention needs are met before leaving him alone, he will be much more content and might even spend much of the day snoozing, as he waits for you to return home. Combine those efforts with some of the great products available to keep your pet comfortable at home while you’re away, and you both will be happier and more relaxed.