We all love to spoil our dogs – from collars to fancy food to training. But is there a hidden cost of pet parenting that you haven’t considered?
With winter on its way, you may well start to notice this extra outgoing when it comes to your utility bills. Yes, you pay this anyway but have you ever considered how much extra you might be paying for your dog to enjoy the wonder of electricity when you’re not home?
As the colder months are drawing in, you may be thinking of how to keep your dog comfortable at home, especially when they’re left alone. Leaving the TV on, making sure the lights are on so they aren’t in the dark… these things add up over time. Thankfully, they don’t have to rack up the pounds as a recent study has found.
For starters, did you know your dog has a circadian rhythm? in the wild, they would usually be most active during dawn and dusk. This rhythm relies on cues in the environment such as light. Whilst our domesticated dogs are far from wild, light can still have an effect on their behaviour. We may think the dog would prefer to have the lights on at home, but actually it might just be a habitual process we’ve created and they may be more comfortable with natural light. And don’t forget, dogs can see much better in the twilight than we can.
Rest is such an important factor in our dogs’ lives. By turning the light off and opening a curtain, they can get better rest – in tune with their body. Plus, that’s a few quid less to spend on lighting when there’s no one needing it at home! Another option to help could be moving their bed to be in front of a window. External walls are often cold, so placing a warm, comfy bed in a sunny spot will let your dog soak up all that good light and warmth. Less money spent on heating… that’s always good news!
Whilst your dog may have loved jumping into water and playing with the hose in summer, as the winter months approach getting wet is a drain on their own heating. With this in mind, if your dog does need a bath try to limit it to any warmer days. If you can, use warm water (not boiling!) and a drying coat or very absorbent towel to get them as dry as possible. I’m sure your mum used to tell you that you’ll catch a cold if you go out with wet hair. Ideally, we don’t want our pets to do that either.
Ensure all bedding is dry before they rest on it. Layering blankets is as good for them to conserve heat as it is for us. You can buy items like snuggle sacks – similar to a sleeping bag – cave style beds, or use some cosy blankets to give them a bit more warmth.
One trick guardians often use, to keep their dog happy while home alone, is to leave the telly on for them. While this may work for some dogs – you could consider using a radio or smart speaker at a low volume instead. There are some great – sometimes odd – playlists and even podcasts(!) for dogs. Trust me, they are strange to listen to but my dogs were very relaxed listening to it. These are lower energy usage solutions than putting on the tv.
While we all love to pamper our pets, these ideas will help keep your energy and fuel consumption down. You’ll be helping the planet and saving some extra cash to treat your pup to something they really love. Win, win!