As we work our way through our second lockdown, our pets will feel the stress too. Suddenly everyone is home and their entire routine changes yet again. With the knowledge that our dogs are full blown empaths with the capacity to absorb all our emotions – both happy and sad, it is even more important to treat them with the utmost respect and with as much kindness as we can. They never expect anything of us, but they have acutely sensitive emotions that we need to be aware of.
Here are some pointers to show kindness and sensitivity towards our pets at this worrying time –
Try as far as possible to stick to a routine. Routines offer stability and reassurance to not only your dog but to us too that the same thing will happen at the same time each day and with this comes comfort and a reduction in any stress. The best form of relaxation and mindfulness for both us and our dogs is exercise in the outdoors and this is the best way to show kindness to your pet (and yourself). They receive as much of an endorphin release and an immunity-boost by going for long healthy walks as we do, so always leave your phone or any mobile device at home and make your time with your dogs and their ever-wagging tails your time to just savour the moment and enjoy that time with them. Try to see the world as they do just for that time – live for the moment and ground yourself by using all your senses to see, feel, hear and smell everything around you.
Never rush your dog on a walk. Allow them time to sniff and take in all the hidden messages that they ‘read’ with their noses. Their sense of smell is acute and provides them with all the endorphin release they need when taken out. This is even more important in our elderly pets who may have hearing or sight loss or who suffer with painful arthritis that prevents them from walking too far. Give these elderly pets even more time to sniff and enjoy their walks – it is probably what they dream about in their baskets!
Love them silly in a way your dog will fully appreciate. Treat them to playtimes with their favourite toys and just enjoy your time with your pet – mindful happy moments that we must treasure as they make us forget all our stress.
Remember that our dogs are empaths who need their space and respond better to gentle pats and massages rather than cuddles and being tightly hugged like a human. All dogs have a level of ‘skin hunger’ that can be satisfied by using your finger nails and rolling their layers of skin around their neck and under their chin – almost as if they were being nibbled by another dog – they do love this! Set aside a quiet time to offer your pet a soothing massage. Sit on the floor with your dog and as one hand strokes across their soft fur and the full length of their body; ensure that your other hand is ready to start stroking where the other hand left off ie there is always contact with one hand on their body. This is a subtle technique used by massage therapists and will send your dog into a blissful slumber.
Be fully aware of your dog’s empath sensitivities as mentioned in our what is an empath’s post. At this sudden and unexpected stressful time in ALL our lives, our dogs absorb all our stresses and I am sure you have seen your own dog skulk to their beds when there is any friction or arguing or shouting in the house. Be very aware of their needs and just as you would if there were loud noises outside, offer them a ‘bolthole’ or safe place to hide away. The use of Adaptil plug-ins are very useful to calm your pet if there is tension in the household and they begin to show abnormal behaviour. There are other natural herbal sprays such as Pet Remedy which uses herbs that calm us too (I use it in the consult room on the cat scales), but be warned it smells very ‘grassy’!
Treat them with the healthiest food that they like and that you can prepare for them. There is nothing more satisfying than nourishing our pets with food that we have lovingly prepared knowing exactly what is in it – no processed foods with extra chemicals and preservatives added, just pure natural goodness. Knowing that there are no animal products in the food offers us enormous reassurance when our pets lick us lovingly on our faces, that we are not going to catch any of the bacteria from their saliva that come with meat-based diets (both raw and processed biscuits). By not worrying about these meat-based dog food bacteria, we can fully appreciate the valuable bond that exists between us and our pets. Try baking our extra healthy Umameo treats as a family – they can be rolled into any shapes (hearts is a very obvious one), or use cookie cutters. There is nothing more therapeutic than baking for your loved pet.
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