We all love consistency and in many ways our animals are very like us. Even though we like a bit of excitement in our lives at times, we love consistency too. Animals are often reliant on their ‘owners’ for food, environment, play, health care, stimulation etc. Who can remember being a child and being reliant on your parents for many things including food? How did it feel if dinner was late without you being told? How did you feel if one of your parents was really late home (or parents how does it feel when your teenager comes home late and you don’t know where they are?). You worry don’t you? It is not a good feeling, especially when you have no control over the situation.
Most animals are creatures of habit and they love to know when their next walk / dinner / play time out in a run / time out in a field (for a horse) is coming. If this routine is broken or is not consistent it can cause a lot of stress, which can manifest in physical or behavioural problems, and even depression. I see many horse owners who, in the winter, only let their horses out for a few hours each day, and sometimes not at all. The horse has no idea when it is / is not going out and this causes a lot of stress to horses. Similarly I see a lot of horses at yards here there is a high turnover of horses, so just as a horse makes a new friend that friend is sold / moved on, and they have to start all over again!
I see many dogs who’ owners sometimes take them for a walk in the morning, sometimes not. Feed times often vary considerably. Supplements, for all species, are often given for a month then forgotten about, and then the animals health deteriorates.
I see people with caged animals e.g. rabbits or hamsters where they can go days without being let out on a run (a garage works well in the winter or a bathroom at the very least!).
So for 2016 let’s see if we can ensure our animals know that they can rely on us for the important things in their lives! Lets ensure that:
Their dinner is on time and consistently healthy;
That if you are going to be late home someone else pops around at the normal home time to let them out / comfort them so they do not stress;
That they have regular play / turn out time every day
That you find their perfect stable yard and keep them there so they can form friendships;
You will see just how much your animal appreciates this by their physical and emotional health, and a happy animal makes a very happy owner! Have a great Christmas and I am always here to answer any animal related questions.