Whether you’ve shared your home with a dog for years, or you’re one of the thousands who welcomed a furry friend to the family in 2020, lockdowns are a challenging situation for both people and pets. Routines are interrupted, feelings of anxiety increase, and the line between work life and home life gets blurry.
Nearly 90% of pet owners say their dogs and cats are helping them cope with lockdown restrictions. It’s important we return the favour. Below, we’ll look at three of the most common concerns, and what you can do to keep your pet happy and healthy during lockdown.
Exercise and engagement
Currently unable to take your dog on those long walks they love so much? You’re not alone. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to keep them active and entertained.
Instead of visiting a dog park or other popular walking spots, try to find somewhere in the local area where your dog can explore while you both maintain social distancing. Such new and exciting experiences (and the smells that come with them) are a great way to keep your dog engaged at a time when there’s not much else going on.
It’s recommended that you keep your dog on their lead when visiting a new spot, even if you’re not required to do so. That way, if anyone else happens to be walking there, you won’t have to break social distancing if your pup decides to run over and say hello!
When it comes to activities in the home, puzzles are a popular option. Food-dispensing toys are perfect for challenging your pet to use their brain in order to get treats. Overall, aim for a mix of physical and mental stimulation.
Finally, try not to interrupt your pet’s routine. Sleep is as important now as ever.
Hygiene has never been more important for people and pets alike. Don’t go overboard though! Your dog or cat is far more likely to benefit from occasional brushing than a spur of the moment decision to see if you have what it takes to be a professional pet groomer. There’ll be plenty of time for a haircut once the lockdown is lifted.
The same goes for washing your dog. While it’s important to continue giving your pup a shampoo and conditioning, there’s no need to do so any more often than usual.
What you should be cleaning more often are your dog’s accessories. Easily-washable accessories, such as our neoprene no-pull harnesses and soft collars, make it simple to maintain a healthy environment for the whole family.
Consistency is crucial to a happy and healthy pet’s life. It’s also one of the most difficult things to maintain in a lockdown. Yes, it’s been great to spend even more time than ever with our dogs and cats. However, we can’t let it become the new normal if we don’t want to risk them suffering from separation anxiety.
In order to ensure your pet won’t miss you too much when you’re away from home, there are a few things you can do.
First, don’t encourage dependent behaviour. If they follow you from room to room all day, don’t engage. Wait until you’re in an area of the house you commonly spend time together to give them a hug or a treat. If they scratch at the door of your office or bedroom, don’t let them in. It’s important our pets understand they can continue spending time outside our presence, even if we’re only down the hallway.
Once you’re able to leave home for short periods of time, keep your dog at home. Don’t give them a treat or toy when you’re ready to leave; if they associate those items with your departure, it will only make them more anxious!
It may also be worth buying them a calming dog bed. These beds are designed to give pets of all kinds a sense of security and comfort. We know our two pups rarely get out of theirs, if they can help it!
If you find your pet is acting strangely once a regular routine is re-established, be sure to visit your vet for further advice.
We hope this information is helpful, and that both you and your pets can get back to normal very soon.