Are Your Pets Suffering When You Leave The House?
Many studies have shown that rats confined in a small cage, without sufficient space for comfortable movement, become severe sociopaths. Their psychological state quickly deteriorates when they are jammed into crowded conditions, where they are practically unable to move.
A dog or cat experiences the same kind of emotional deterioration when cooped up inside without proper exercise. Imagine a child confined to the house for days because of bad weather, eager to get out and move around but unable to do so. Cabin fever strikes our pets just as it does our kids. After being indoors for days at a time, dogs and cats may experience emotional mood swings. They become depressed, lonely, then slightly nuts when they try to work out some of their nervous energy. When they are terribly bored, they may even chew on themselves, sometimes causing raw “hot spots” or “lick granuloma,” two conditions that are difficult to treat. These neurotic dogs and cats literally eat away at themselves, desperate for some form of physical attention, from a pat on the head to a good game of ball. Other symptoms of boredom include hyperactivity, aggression, withdrawal, and severe depression, manifesting itself in a lack of interest in food and an inability to relate well to people or other animals. A dog who howls incessantly when you go out is telling you something; he clearly needs more than you’re giving.
Dogs and cats need positive attention, but they will seek negative attention if necessary. If you are too busy to include playtime in your schedule each day, your pet will undoubtedly react by doing something — anything — to get your attention, be it chewing the sofa leg or eliminating on the rug. Naturally, you will punish your pet for this bad behavior, which will create the sought-after contact between you, unpleasant as it may be.
A jog or a game of ball first thing in the morning or after work will offer you both a good time and is the best solution in a household where the pet has taken charge or where the owner is away at work all day.
Negative attention syndrome, or what so many people describe as an animal acting spiteful, quickly reverses itself once the pet has a positive outlet for his energy. It’s the quality of time that you spend together that’s important, not quantity.