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How to Help Your Dog Through a Change in Routine

Chances are you do all you can to give your dog a life of comfort and normalcy. Ever since they’ve entered your home, you’ve done all you can to provide them with a comfortable life that feels loving and welcoming. But try as you might, sometimes your dog’s routine is going to change.

How to Help Your Dog Through a Change in Routine

The change can come about for a number of different reasons, like:

  • The days get darker as winter approaches
  • You get a new job and have to walk them at different times
  • You get a new significant other and they begin caring for them
  • Your commute to work became longer so they spend more time alone

How do you help your dog adjust to this change in routine? From remaining calm to giving them dog chews to de-stress, here’s all you should do.

You need to take time

First and foremost, you need to understand that it will take time. Why?

Consider yourself: how would you feel starting a new job?

Let’s say you originally worked the night shift, and now you’re working a 9-to-5 job every day.

Suddenly, you’re sleeping and waking up at different times; you’re eating at different times; and the sky looks different when you’re awake.

Overall, your system is thrown out of whack.

You not only feel exhausted, but you feel stressed. It’s a lot of change at once.

It leads to you feeling burnt out the first few weeks.

What causes that change?

It’s a change in routine, most of all.

Humans and dogs are simply habitual creatures.

They get used to routines and they don’t like changing them.

So the following weeks are miserable and stressful.

The only way to properly get through it is to take your time, to understand that you don’t adjust to a routine all of sudden.

It’s something that takes getting used to.

So how do you help your dog adjust to them?

It’s not an easy feat, and chances are they’re going to be upset with you for the first few weeks as you adjust.

But you need to take your time and remain patient with them.

The best way to adjust their schedule is to slowly move events back by 15-minute increments.

For instance, if you head out the door for your morning walk at 6:15 a.m. every day, the latest you’ll want to go — for the first few days — is 6:30 a.m.

That slow progression will ensure it doesn’t feel like a major change to them. Rather, it will only feel incremental.

So take your time and remain patient.

Your dog deserves your patience, most of all, as the routine change is happening because of something going on in your own life.

Happy smiling white dog being offered a bowl of food

Create consistency

In all likelihood, your dog has a consistent routine that you follow from day to day, week to week.

Things rarely change and you keep them on a tight leash, and an even tighter schedule.

The more consistent the schedule, the calmer your dog feels.

So how do you manage a change in routine?

As mentioned above, you need to do it gradually, slowly taking the time to change their schedule, while still maintaining the same structure.

All you’re doing is gradually moving the time of events back, nothing more.

If you find that you’re breaking your consistency even now, say by sleeping in on the weekends, you’re already causing stress in your dog.

But let’s get real: you need rest, too.

You work all day while your dog sleeps on their bed, loving the comfort of your home.

Why can’t you enjoy that luxury?

You can. But you should make it work around your dog.

If you feed your dog at 7 a.m. every day after your 6:30 a.m. – 7 a.m. walk, you shouldn’t be sleeping in until 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Instead, if you need the rest, take them out for their early walk, feed them, and then go back to bed.

It’s a simple way to ensure that their schedule remains consistent while still making it work for you.

Do what you can to alleviate stress

Lastly, you need to watch for signs of stress and anxiety in your dog.

The most common ones include:

  • Excessive itching
  • Excessive scratching
  • Licking their paws raw
  • Irritability
  • Signs of lethargy
  • Not eating as much

How do you manage signs of stress and anxiety once they start to appear?

The simplest way is to provide your dog with a calm environment.

One way many people calm their dog down is with soothing music – especially when they leave their dog in their crate.

It’s a simple way to provide a calming environment that’s still a bit noisy, so it feels as if you’re around.

Bully sticks for dogs go a long way, too.

They provide your dog with a long-lasting chew that lets them get their stress and energy out, all while enjoying the nutrition and taste of their treat.

Best of all, they’ll even clean your dog’s teeth, saving you the trouble of trying to brush them.

Some dog owners rely on CBD products, too, as they can keep dogs calm when they need it most.

While there’s no hard research to show that CBD helps dogs, there’s more than enough anecdotal evidence to show that CBD can calm dogs, especially when stressed. 

White dog holding a bright blue leash in his mouth

Lastly, dog owners can always resort to medication if they believe their dog is either undergoing stress or will soon go through a stressful life event.

Basic prescriptions can be given to your dog, as prescribed by their veterinarian, to alleviate your dog’s anxiety.

Anti-anxiety meds can run a wide gamut, similar to humans, and your vet can help you pinpoint the type of medication and dosage that would work best for your dog’s level of anxiety and stress.

Most of all, don’t add any unnecessary stress.

Dogs are great at picking up on human emotions.

You showing stress will only cause your dog to get stressed.

So do all you can to keep them calm.

Remain patient, take your time, give them dog chews to calm down, and create the routine they need.

Debbie P

Thursday 23rd of December 2021

I totally agree with this article.

Sarah L

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

Doing changes incrementally is very helpful.

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