During these difficult times our pets are a huge source of comfort to us. Currently there is good evidence that pets cannot be infected by the new Coronavirus, but they could potentially pass disease between people by carrying it. Only in the same way that any object could have viral particles on it. As always, we recommend good personal hygiene after touching any animal.
Most of our dogs will be used to going out every day exploring with us and during this time of social distancing this will become harder. It is really important to find ways to keep your dog stimulated and entertained whilst indoors to prevent them becoming frustrated.
For any dog a mixture of mental and physical stimulation is key to happiness and there are many ways in which we can enhance this at home. Being stuck indoors need not be the end of all fun.
With a reduction in physical exercise we advise adjusting their dietary ration so that they do not gain weight! Unfortunately, the majority of UK pets are overweight and this has been linked with an increased risk of many diseases such as osteoarthritis and diabetes.
Here are a few of our ideas to keep you both entertained
- Learn a new trick! The possibilities here are endless and we assure you that you can teach an old dog new tricks! Once you’ve got basic commands such as sit, stay, lay and paw; it’s time to try to enhance them further. If your dog is good at fetch then this could be adapted so that they help you to tidy up their toys from around the house!
- Keep their toys in a safe place and tidy them away each day. Toys that are always in view lose their appeal. It’s best to rotate toys so that they seem more interesting.
- Food puzzles and toys can be a great way to make mealtimes last longer and ultimately make your pet feel fuller for longer.
- If, like many owners, you once bought a tooth brushing kit for your dog and gave up after a few tries then now is the perfect time to introduce oral care back into your pet’s life. As with anything new, we recommend starting gradually. We normally say to start by just letting them lick the paste off of your finger, then work up to gentle brushing on either side of their mouth. With a gentle approach, patience and lots of positive reinforcements you should be a toothbrushing pro by the end of social distancing!
- Treat treasure hunts can be a great way to entertain your pets and children. Your dog’s sense of smell is far superior to ours and you’d be surprised by their abilities.
- Simple games such as Guess the Hand or Three Cups can be surprisingly entertaining and keeps the mind focused whilst they decide where the treat is.
- Whilst the schools are out it can be a great time to build an obstacle or agility course in your garden or house! Children will love creating challenges for each other and their doggie friends and may give you a moment to yourself to enjoy a cup of tea!