When a new construction begins in your street or neighbourhood it can be a slight inconvenience for you, but have you considered how your pet feels about it? While you understand what is happening and why there is all this noise your pet has just had their nice peaceful life flipped around. But don’t worry, because you’ve come to the right place to help them. Below we discuss five key steps to keeping your pet safe and happy when you are near a construction project.
1. Ensure your pet is microchipped
If your pet is not yet microchipped we highly recommend doing this on the off chance they are spooked by something and manage to escape from your home. Microchipping your pet drastically increases the chance of having them returned to you. If your pet is already microchipped ensure that the contact information on the microchip is also up-to-date. Have you changed phone numbers or addresses since you first got your pet microchipped? Without updated contact details your chance of finding them is almost the same as if your pet wasn't microchipped at all.
2. Beware of changes in the environment around the construction site
There can be a lot of things happening when there is construction in your street or suburb, these can include blocked roads and paths as well as an increase in heavy vehicles, traffic and dust. If you work during the day when the majority of construction work is happening you need to keep a close eye on how your pet is reacting. When you come home are they needier than normal? Do they seem nervous or unusually scared by loud noises? These can all be warning signs that your pet is not coping with the construction noise.
If you are noticing these signs you will want to consider changing some things. If your pet is not coping at all you may want to relocate them to a friend or family's house if you can, or consider boarding them for the duration of the construction. If you don’t think your pet needs to be relocated but they are still nervous, think about how you can create a safe place for them to spend their days. Is it possible for them to stay inside or have access inside? Can you play calming music that will drown the construction noise out?
Finally, when you take your pet for a walk consider changing your standard route if it goes past the construction site or even drive to a different suburb or area that you know is quiet and peaceful. This will help your pet to calm down and destress, as well as tire them out. By tiring them out they should be less receptive to the construction noise going on around them as they sleep.
3. Be conscious of construction noise during the day
If you aren’t home during the day when construction work is in full swing you need to do some research to find out just how loud it can get. Do you have neighbours that you know spend most of their time at home? A quick chat could tell you everything you need to know. There is also a whole market now for pet cameras, from basic models up to state of the art set-ups. Even the most basic models will allow you to record a day, with sound and video. From here you can watch it back and watch for any instances where you notice your pets react. This can also help you understand how your pet is coping with the construction noise.
4. Consider potential escape routes for your pet
If you normally leave your pet in your yard while you are at work consider any potential escape routes they could use if they are spooked. Construction sites generally have a low hum of noise, workers talking and machines such as excavators running, but unexpected noises such as materials being dropped, unusually loud machines, like mobile cranes, and tools or trucks arriving to drop off deliveries can all spook your pet.
Consider how your pet behaves without unexpected noises, are they prone to running when you let them out of the gate? Or do they hide during thunderstorms? If your pets normally react like this you may want to consider how you can escape-proof your house and yard so they cannot escape, even if they try. Look to your fences, doors and gates and review the likelihood of your pet being able to get over, under or through them.
Most animals have a natural reaction to hide under or in things when they are scared, so consider how you could create a safe space like that in your home or yard. From getting them a dog house or throwing blankets over the table to create a cubby house there are a range of ways you can give them a safe place that will also reduce the risk of them running away.
5. Create distractions for your pet in a safe space
No matter where you have decided is the safest place for your pet, whether it’s in the yard or inside, perhaps in the laundry, during construction you need to ensure they have plenty to distract them. Providing your pet with distractions such as food hidden in toys, music and interactive toys can keep them busy and their mind off the noises going on outside. The best thing you can do for your pet is to give them a space that relaxes them and makes them feel safe, even with everything else going on.
Keeping a pet safe and happy during a noisy construction project can be a trial and error effort but remember that you know your pet best. Before you know it ,you’ll find the perfect combination of things that make your pet happy and calm during the construction project. If you’re considering doing renovation works to your own home while you and your pet are there check out our blog on how to keep your pet safe during home renovations for more tips and tricks on keeping them happy and safe.