Author's note: Us Kahooligans are so incredibly lucky to have such amazing customers, friends, and family in our lives. In all honesty, you are all essential to us and we truly wouldn't of made it this far without you. Thank you so much for your support and kindness during these strange times. And just like you've always been there for us, we'll be here for you.

-

Pups are stoked, cats...not so much

For many pets, having their humans home 24/7 is a dream come true! But for some, the disruption of normal routine, especially increased activity, noise, and/or attention, may be a source of stress. Even if your daily schedule hasn’t changed much, your pet’s behavior can be affected by their sensitivity to your stress- and who isn’t experiencing a little more stress these days? How can you tell if your pet is stressed? Here’s a few things to watch for. 

  • - Increased vocalization like barking

  • - Restless activity like pacing

  • - Lack of energy or interest

  • - Becoming withdrawn

  • - New separation anxiety behavior

  • - Excessive licking or over-grooming

  • - Destructive behavior

  • - Aggressive behavior

      If you are seeing these signs of stress in your pets, Kahoots is here to help! 

      Pets around conference table, cat is upset people are staying home - dogs are happy.

      How to help keep your pets stress-free

      I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but it seems like my cat knows his dinner time down to the minute. While our pets may not actually be able to tell time, they are creatures of habit. Keeping to habitual routines can reinforce their sense of wellbeing, reducing the stress caused by other factors. Do what you can to maintain your pets’ normal routine wherever possible. If changes to their normal routine are unavoidable, utilize the opportunity to make changes that will be positive long term. Here's some ideas:

      • - Is your pet used to meals, walks, and/or playtime at a certain time of day? Stick to their normal feeding routine even if your schedule has become more flexible. Has your pet been a little too good lately? Go easy on the treats, disrupted schedules and more time at home can make it easy to overdo it without noticing. And while more frequent walks can be a good thing, remember to walk at your usual times as well.

      Bear looking through window to check on humans

      • - How about a daily brushing or weekly nail trim? Or a monthly visit to the groomers? Now is not the time to let hygiene slide, even if your groomer isn’t available. Be sure to groom your pets on their usual schedule. If you usually use a groomer and are not sure where to start, stop by or call your local Kahoots, we can help you figure it out.

      What is happening? Dogs concerned about humans in muzzles.

      • - Don’t change the rules. It may be tough to stop Fido from begging at mealtimes when the kids are slipping him their vegetable under the table at every meal, or to keep him off the couch when you’re spending so much more time binge-watching TV. Be sure to maintain your pet’s training and avoid reinforcing behaviors that you don’t approve of no matter the circumstances.

      "Open the door, I have toiled paper" says the cat.

      • - Give them their space. If your pet is used to the house being empty for some part of the day and that has changed, create a safe space where your pet can get away if they feel overwhelmed. Many cats and even some dogs will appreciate a quiet corner where they can rest undisturbed when they feel like it, away from the noise and activity.

      Sad emotional support dog, tired of listening to his human complain.

      Kahooligan Tip - No matter how stressful life is, your pets will always be there for you, and they truly love you and much as you love them.

      Academic resources that have helped us Kahooligans make sense of these turbulent times:

      https://covid.yale.edu/

      https://research.usc.edu/

      https://med.stanford.edu/covid19.html

      Share the Knowledge!