Creating a New, Healthy Routine for You and Your Pet


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski BVSc (Hons)

As fellow pet parents, we know that many of you are worried about keeping your fur family happy and healthy as your daily routine is forced to adapt and change. As we all prepare to go back to work and adjust to life post-COVID restrictions, it's important to keep your pet's daily routine as healthy and predictable as possible.

From occupying toys to the best pet sitting services in Australia, read our top tips for making a seamless transition into a stable routine, and keeping your pet happy, healthy, and as well-adjusted as possible.

1 - Keep up with Quality Time

During isolation, your pet may have adjusted to increased one-on-one time with you. Now that restrictions are easing, your pet may not understand why their favourite person isn't around all the time. Separation Anxiety is a very common and serious issue, particularly in young puppies or pets prone to anxiety. To reduce the likelihood of separation anxiety, try to dedicate some special time each day for bonding with your pet.

A Regular Bedtime

A consistent, regular bedtime for your pet (and yourself!) can help promote a healthy sleep pattern and mental stability. But, of course, maintaining a bed time isn't always easy. If you need to stay up late, try to at least keep a crate or comfy, warm bed nearby for your pet, and encourage your pet to 'go to bed' at the same time each night.

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A morning exercise session

We know it can be difficult (especially in Winter!) but try getting up a tad earlier than you normally would each morning. Dedicate an hour for a long dog walk, game of fetch, or an extended play session with your cat. This 'fitness hour' can help solidify a healthy daily routine, and will allow your pet to burn off some energy first thing so that they can relax throughout the day.

If you're concerned about cold or dark mornings, why not consider a glowing night walk product such as a LED collar or harness or a glowing toy?

2 - Set Meal Times

Dogs and cats love having a regular routine, and mealtimes play an important part in this. Try to feed your pet at the same time each day; whether that's once or twice per day.

How many times per day should you feed your pet?

Puppies and kittens under 12 weeks should be fed 3 or 4 times per day.

Dogs over 12 weeks should be fed twice daily (morning and night), however if you prefer to feed once daily this is acceptable too.

Cats over 12 weeks should ideally have dry food left out to graze on throughout the day, and fed wet food once daily. To help keep your cat interested in their food, alternate with different flavours and textures. Read more about the Benefits of feeding wet and dry food for cats.

Keep it Regular with an Automatic Feeder

If your pet has become accustomed to a lunchtime snack while you've been home in isolation, why not consider an automatic feeder? Automatic feeders are particularly popular among new kitten and puppy owners. These handy contraptions can be set to dispense food at a particular time of day, and some can even be controlled via an app on your phone.

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3 - Stock Up on Boredum Busters

The Catit Senses Roller Circuit

Interactive toys and long lasting treats are great ways to keep your pet busy and distracted if you're away from home. There are plenty of interactive toys which can be filled with paste or treats and encourage your pet to work for their food. You can even make your own treat-dispensing toy by cutting small holes into an empty drink bottle and filling with kibble.

Occupying Cat Toys

Occupying Dog Toys

Petsafe Automatic Ball Launcher

This ball launcher has an open hopper, allowing your pooch to load balls without your assistance (after a little training).

KONG Extreme

The KONG can be stuffed with food, treat paste or peanut butter, and left to keep your dog occupied long enough for you to leave the house calmly.

Ruff Play Durable Treat Ball

This ball can be filled with tasty treats, peanut butter, kibble or treat paste to keep your pooch occupied and out of trouble.

Rogz Treat Dispenser

These bright, colourful spheres are made from food-grade, highly resistant ABS and feature three adjustable release rates for various levels of learning and feeding.

Occupying Treats

Long lasting treats are great to keep your pet occupied when they're alone. Fresh raw bones can be a good option (but be aware of the risks of feeding raw bones) as are treats such as Goat Horn, Cow Hooves, and Ear Chews.

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Tasty Bone

These durable nylon bones may be washed in soap and water if needed and the delicious range of flavours are designed to last for the lifetime of the bone.

Nature's Cut Goat Horn

With a firm outer surface and a soft marrow inside, Nature's Cuts Goat Horn are extremely tasty, firm but not brittle, and are great for cleaning the teeth.

Wag Bully Sticks

These bully sticks are made 100% Beef for a tasty treat. Sometimes called bull's pizzles, these are 15cm in length and very long-lasting.

Black Dog Veggie Ears

Veggie Ears are a long lasting and vegetarian treat that will keep your dog occupied for a long period of time.

4 - Use a Pet Sitter or Pet Cam to Check in During the Day

If your pet isn't accustomed to long periods of time alone, it's a good idea to keep an eye on them during the day. If you aren't able to come home on your lunch break, there are a number of ways to check in with your pet while you're at work:

1. Use a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker

Why not consider using a service like Pawshake? This convenient, Aussie, online service connects pet parents with experienced pet sitters. Offering non-committal and affordable dog boarding, pet sitting, dog walking, home visits and more, you'll be guaranteed to find someone to check in on your precious fur baby and deliver some T.L.C.!

Find out more about Pawshake

2. Try an interactive Pet Cam

A nannycam is a great way to keep an eye on your pet throughout the day. A great example of an interactive pet camera is the Petkit Mate Pro. An absolute must-have for puppy parents, this pet camera allows you to monitor, record photos and videos of, and even speak to your pet through an app in your phone.