5 Ways To Happily Cohabitate With Your Pets
World Animal Day is on 4 October, and what better way to celebrate than by shacking up with your best friends in the animal kingdom
We love animals in Australia. We can’t get enough of them, and there are certainly plenty to go around. But there is a big difference between spotting a furry friend in the wild and learning to live with your significant other: your pet.
Yes, animals can be tricky housemates. They certainly won’t help with the dishes. They don’t often understand the concept of “personal space”. They like to leave their toys lying around for others to tidy up. And they’re not always the best when it comes to hygiene.
With that in mind, and in the spirit of celebrating World Animal Day this month, here are some fun tips for learning to live with your animal buddy.
1. Make them comfortable
Have you ever walked into the spare bedroom only to find your dog has curled up on the bed – the human bed – for a nap?
If that sounds familiar, don’t despair. Your pup just wants to live in comfort in the same way you do. The solution? Set them up with their own luxurious bed.
A comfortable-yet-compact mattress is a great place to start, but you also need to think about your pet’s particular needs. You see, dogs are pack animals, so they like to be near the “alpha” of the pack – and that is (hopefully) you. Using this knowhow, it’s typically best to place your dog’s bed near where you spend most of your time.
2. Let them move around
Unlike dogs, cats like to spend time alone, just doing their thing. They are also crepuscular, which means that “doing their thing” often occurs at dusk or at dawn while you’re sleeping. Accordingly, it is important that your cat has plenty of room to move around and play.
Firstly, look into setting up activity areas in your house. There are tonnes of great ways to incorporate catwalks into your home, and that’s just the good news. The even better news is they can be designed to fit in with your personal style, which will help them to blend in and become just another part of the furniture.
Secondly, consider building small-yet-accessible doorways into your walls so your cat can roam freely, even if you want to keep the human-sized doors closed.
A bonus: your doors won’t be on the receiving end of unwanted scratch marks from a trapped cat!
3. Hang out with them
We have pets because we like the company, or because we want to teach our kids how to be responsible, or because it helps us exercise. It’s also a known fact that having a pet can reduce anxiety and stress in humans.
These are just a few of the benefits of having a pet, and that is why it is important that you carve time out of your day, no matter how busy your schedule, to spend time with your pet pal.
And if you don’t have time for a high-maintenance pet, such as a dog, remember this: even the most unlikely of friends – like a cute little bunny or a goldfish – can bring happiness to your day.
4. Give them what they need
Some pets can be scaredy-cats, or scaredy-dogs for that matter. Whether it’s fireworks or thunderstorms pets – dogs in particular – can tremble at the loud noises.
It’s not hard to understand why they do this, but how can you combat their fear? Well, according to Elise Meakin of the RSPCA, the best way is to “create a comfortable hiding place and allow your dog to go to there to feel safe, put on some music or the TV to help mask the noise outside, and distract your dog with games and food.”
For a comfortable hiding place, you could just allow your dog to hide under the bed, but if your dog is particularly terrified, you may need to build them their own dark, sheltered nook. A hiding spot in your laundry or kitchen, or beneath your staircase, is a great way to give them that cave-like feeling.
5. Give them what they want
Though it is important to avoid spoiling your pet, it is almost as important to ensure that they get what they want, within reason.
For example, according to Meakin, dogs need regular exercise – and that typically means walking them at least once a day, or giving them plenty of room to run around. Ideally, if you have a large garden, you can let them out to play, or even better, run around and toss the ball with them.
Cats like to sleep a lot during the day, so you can always give them something like an enclosed pet bed in which to sleep, although to be honest, they usually just sleep wherever they want! Cats also like mental stimulation, so it may be worth your while to invest in some fun toys, to keep them from becoming bored and agitated, and from tearing up the couch. If your cat is an indoor-only cat, make sure they have a window with a view to the outside world. Whether they spend their time soaking up the sun or watching the birds, it will keep their mind occupied.
Source: Bryna Howes Houzz Contributor