Ask any pet owner: one of the hardest things you do on a day-to-day basis is shutting the front door to the sight of your pet staring back at you with those frosty eyes, clear in the knowledge you are going to be apart for a while.
Whether a few hours or more, it’s hard for pets, but it’s a fact of life and is often unavoidable. The key question, though, is do you know what your pet is getting up to while you are away? Do you know if they are miserable and doing themselves real mental harm, or if they just silently snooze away the down time?
We have outlined below some top tips for leaving your pets home alone. These can all be really helpful in making them as calm as possible, but the latest technology means that you can now monitor your pets while out of the house using some really clever kit and without breaking the bank, certainly for no more than £100.
We are giving away two free Motorola Scout 85s, home cameras that react to sound and movement in order to let you see what they are getting up to. They also let you talk to your pet while away – they come with a two-way communication system – and ensure you can still talk to your pet while out. It all works with an app on your smartphone alerting you to movement, sound or temperature changes and letting you have a look with live video. It either gives you peace of mind that all is ok, speak to them directly to calm them down or, in a worst case scenario, head home.
In order to be in a chance of winning one of these two great cameras all you need to do is send us what you think your pet gets up to while you are out. Just post your thoughts on Twitter @MedicAnimal or on our Facebook page.
Five top tips for leaving your pet at home:
1. Give them a proper goodbye
Getting your pets into a routine so that they know when you are going to be away for a longer period can help ensure they aren’t sat worrying about you not coming back. A good hug and some love before you leave, leaving them in the same place and heading out of the same door, can get them into the routine and keep them calm.
2. Make sure they are comfy
We get it – we are all busy people. But rushing out the door without leaving your pet with a comfy bed and a full water bowl isn’t right. Make sure that when you do leave them that you give them as many home comforts as possible.
3. Leave them with a neighbour
On good terms with your neighbours and know they are pet lovers? Why not ask the question if they can take them for a few hours.
4. Don’t leave them for more than a few hours without someone checking in
Know you are going to be away from 6am to 10pm? Don’t leave them alone for that length of time. It’s just not fair. Ask a friend to drop in and let them out, give them some food and a good hug. If you can afford it, dog walkers or day-care are well worth considering, especially if you don’t have anyone obvious locally who can do you a favour and check-in on them.
5. Not usually left alone? Get some training
If you know you are going to be leaving your pet alone for the first time and you have the foresight, it is very wise to get them used to being apart while you are at home. Pop the dog or cat wherever you are going to leave them – a utility room, kitchen, wherever, but with their bed, water and other comforts – and leave them solo for a shorter time. It can even help to leave them alone but within your sight – behind a glass door, for example – so they get used to calming down but in the knowledge you are still there.
Doing this and increasing the time you are away from them gradually will significantly help when it comes to you being away for longer period. It’s common sense really: going from constant contact to 15 minutes apart is far easier for them than suddenly disappearing for four hours.
Keep in touch with your pets when out – get a camera
But for those of you worried about what your pets get up to while out, the home camera and alerting system we mentioned earlier really does provide peace of mind. We are currently offering 20 per cent off the Motorola Scout 85 cameras – for those of you not lucky to win one in our competition. More information here.