If you’ve been keeping an eye on social media this past few weeks you’ll have seen that’s not just us humans that are currently having to spend an inordinate amount of time with our homes – as to be expected from a nation of animal lovers, there’s quite a lot of our furry friends being cooped up with us too. Keeping your pets suitably exercised and entertained during these times can present an array of challenges in itself, but factor in the disruption of a home improvement project and your animal pal’s anxiety levels could increase. As it’s National Pet Month, we thought it a great time to share some useful tips on keeping your pets calm during DIY projects, so read on if you’re a pet owner about to tackle a big home improvement job…
Planning is key when taking on any sort of DIY project; even more so when you have a pet in the house. Just as you’d measure up and set a budget for any DIY project, making provision for your pet whilst the works are going on makes just as much sense. Try and work out when any particularly disruptive (and noisy) tasks will be taking place and take steps to extricate your pets from the situation either by letting them out of the house or even arranging for them to be temporarily cared for by a friend or relative whilst the works are taking place.
It’s also a good idea to set aside treats, toys or medicine before any DIY disruption gets underway as you don’t want any things that are essential to your pet’s wellbeing to be inaccessible due to work being carried out. Finally, you should make sure all those involved in the project – be it external tradesmen or members of the family – are briefed as to your pet’s needs so that they’re mindful of inadvertently leaving doors ajar or tins of paint open (or anything else that may present a danger to your pet).
Create a Safe Space
Our pets will likely already a favourite place to snuggle up or bed down but these areas could become out of bounds during a renovation. If this is the case then it’s important to create an alternative safe space where your pet can retreat away from the relative chaos of a big DIY project. This advice applies mainly to free roaming pets such as cats and dogs as animals that usually reside in tanks or cages can simply be placed away from the action in a quiet room.
For pets of the four legged and often furry variety however, you should try and recreate a comfortable environment full of familiar things – think doggie beds, cat scratching posts, favourite toys etc – and don’t forget to place your pet’s food and water within easy reach too! Be sure that your pet has easy access to the safe space you’ve created too – the last thing you want is for your animal pal to feel trapped or afraid as they may panic and injure themselves trying to escape.
Make Provisions for Pet Exercise
It’s pretty much business as usual for hamsters, gerbils and other rodents when it comes to exercise, even if they’ve been uprooted due to works taking place as they generally have those awesome wheels (why aren’t human versions of these widely available?) to keep them fit and healthy. If you have a cat, dog, house rabbit, or even a micro-pig sharing your abode though then you will have to make provision to give them a regular workout. Cats tend to come and go as they please (assuming they’re not solely and indoor cat) so you can probably resy assured that they’ll be getting enough exercise providing their access to your property is not restricted.
Dogs can present new challenge as, if you’re carrying out the works yourself then schedules can prevent you from taking them from their twice daily walks. if you know that this make prove problematic for you then ensure that you have people on hand to help out with walkies as there’s not excuse for keeping your canine companion cooped up all day. In fact, denying your dog a chance to release energy during any home improvement project could have a negative effect as the more energy expended running around outdoors, the less pent up anxiety.
Noise is inevitable during construction project but trying to reduce it as much as you can will be of great benefit to your pets. This is where the planning you’ve done ahead of commencing work comes into play – if you know roughly when a particularly loud job will be being carried out then you can arrange for your pet to be out of the home at that point, either enjoying a walk or some outdoor exercise or being cared for elsewhere by a friend or relative.
If removing your pet from the noisy environment isn’t practical then you can try to block out any loud anxiety inducing noises from the safe space you’ve created for your pet. This could come in the form of placing blankets in the safe space for your pet to crawl under (cats love to do this) and escape loud sounds, leaving a TV on or radio playing to help block out some of the noise. If you want to go all out though, you could even invest in a white noise machine designed especially for calming pets!
Distract & Placate
Anything that upsets your pet’s regular routine can cause anxiety and consternation and so the best course of action can often be to make everything as close to ‘normal’ as possible throughout the duration of the project. If you can, you should maintain the same times for walks, mealtimes and games, even if it means these activities take place in a different location than they usually do as regularity and routine are key to soothing stress and anxiety.
Even if you do manage to keep routines in place, spending some extra quality time with your pets away from the hubbub won’t do any harm. Try and make time to engage with your pet on a one-on-one basis – give them cuddles, belly rubs, play games and offer them treats (but not too many!) to take their mind off the disruption that is going on around them. As well as having a calming effect, spending time with your lovable floof might just go some way towards taking your mind off the stresses of a big DIY project too!
Do you have any hints and tips on keeping our animal friends calm during the upheaval of a renovation? If so then do let us know in the comments or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll do our best to share them here.
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