9 Ways to Keep Pets Happy and Healthy While You’re Away

Most people want their pet by their side as much as possible. But occasionally, pet owners need to leave their dog or cat at home longer than usual – for example to attend an all-day event or something that runs late into the evening.

When that happens, pets can get lonely or anxious. It’s important to plan ahead for their comfort and safety, and to be a good neighbor if you share walls with anyone else.

Below are tips to help.

We hope this goes without saying, but of course if you’ll be away more than 6-8 hours, or you might not get home when expected, be sure to make care arrangements like boarding your pet or hiring a pet sitter. Talk with your vet if you need advice!

Here are our tips…

dog with scattered pillows in living room
Shutterstock/Switlana Symonenko

1. Don’t give free rein.

Close off rooms where pets can get into trouble or cause damage while you’re away. If your dog is kennel- or crate-trained, consider putting them in their “safe zone” while you’re gone.

2. Make their space comfortable.

On warm days, make sure your home is well ventilated and comfortable. Leave a fan on (but place it out of reach so your pet can’t tip it over) or run your AC. During cold weather, make sure you are heating the rooms your pets will be in.

Cat near heater
Shutterstock/Mariia Boiko

3. Keep pets healthy and hydrated.

Make sure you leave enough pet food for the time you’ll be gone. If your cat or dog eats wet food, put that down before you leave. Provide dry food for the rest of the day. Leave water in several places – especially on warm days.

4. Keep it clean.

Remember to leave fresh potty pads for dogs or a clean litter box for cats. Arrange for a relative, friend or neighbor to stop by and take your dog out if needed while you’re away. Just be sure your helper knows how to keep your dog safe, for example by keeping the dog leashed while outside.

dog out for a walk on a leash

5. Get some exercise before you go.

Take your dog for a walk or run prior to leaving for the day, or if you have a cat take time for active play. This helps your pet expend some of their excess energy and get the healthy exercise they need.

6. Plan for play.

Leave pets’ favorite toys where they’ll be able to find them. Think about giving your dog a treat-dispensing toy to keep him or her busy. Cats love toys that skitter around when they chase them around the house.

dog that has knocked over a plant
Shutterstock/ Pixel-Shot

7. Reduce temptation.

Dogs and cats get bored when left alone for long periods of time and can get into trouble. Secure or remove temptations like electrical cords, shoes and small items that could be chewed or ingested. Also, be sure to secure items that could be tipped over or broken.

8. Soothe with sound.

Consider leaving your radio or TV on to keep your pet company, but at a low volume that won’t disturb your neighbors. If you’re concerned about wasting energy, set the timer for a few hours. By then, your pet will be more accustomed to being alone.

cat watching tv
Shutterstock/Ingus Kruklitis

9. Know where pets are.

You might want to set your pet up with a wearable GPS tracker like Whistle™, so you know what they’re doing. Whistle™ trackers let you track your pets’ activity and whereabouts on a smartphone.

Please help share this post to encourage everyone to plan ahead for their pets’ well-being. And give us your tips! We’re on social media as @MarsPetcareUS.

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