Dogs in Isolation
Our Top 5 Tips for Dog Owners in Isolation
Lockdown is a stressful time for everyone involved and that includes your pets. And although your dog will undoubtedly be delighted to have you home more than usual, they’ll probably pick up on some underlying tension as well. So to help keep you and your four legged friend on track until things return to normal, we’ve pulled together our top five tips for looking after your dog when in isolation.
Keep a routine
During our “lockdown” try to ensure that both you and your dog have a regular routine. If possible, make sure that they get up and go to bed at roughly the same time each day and that they have regular times for feeding and playing. This will help them know what to expect from their day. Try to encourage your dog to have some quiet periods when they are left by themselves. This will prepare them for when you go back to work and leave them for short periods. Keep an eye on your pet, is it acting or behaving normally, if not it may be because their routine has been altered or could be an early sign of them being unwell. Do your weekly checks and compare what you find to what you know is their normal.
Weekly Health Checks
Keep up your weekly health check routine, check your dog from nose to tail. Your dog can’t tell you if something is wrong so it’s up to you to find out. As a responsible dog owner, it’s a good idea to have a health check list of things to look out for on a regular basis. This way you’ll learn what is normal for your dog and be quickly alerted to any change. If you spot anything of concern you can make an appointment with your vet promptly, (they currently have their own guidelines for visits to their practice) meaning there is more chance that any health problems can be caught early. If you have a new puppy, it also gets him or her used to being examined straight away. Do everything gently and reward your dog appropriately. Please see our previous blog post on carrying out weekly health checks.
Use a food puzzle to make mealtimes more stimulating for your dog, these include bases to put food on, making it more difficult to get to the food, or toys to hide food into. If you do not have one you could order one online or ask a friend or neighbour to pick one up for you.
Try hiding treats around the garden or house and send them off in search of them. Don’t over feed them during this time of isolation as very quickly they may start to gain weight. Being overweight can put extra strain on your dog’s joints so keeping his/her weight down is helpful.
Play with your dog
Most dogs love to play a game, so a good game of indoor fetch or tug of war can keep them entertained and engaged. If you are playing with your dog inside the house, try to ensure that they play on non-slip surfaces to avoid them hurting themselves. Only play for short periods of time to make sure your dog isn’t over stimualted and have access to fresh water at all times.
If you have a number of toys why not try a toy rotation and put one away one day and bringing out another the next day. This may stop them getting bored as quickly and will keep their toys new and exciting.
Wash your hands
Currently there is no evidence that dogs are affected by COVID-19, or that they can transmit the virus to other humans. Despite this you should maintain good hygiene practices and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot water before and after you:
It’s also a good idea to try to avoid them licking or kissing your face and sharing your food with them.
These tips should help you and your dog stay in shape mentally and physically until the COVID-19 crisis passes. When it does, you may like to take your pet care one step further and join one of our Dog First Aid courses for the first time or undertake a refresher.
We had planned to run courses in Aberdeen and Strathpeffer before the period of “lockdown” but these are currently on hold at the present time. If you would like to be informed when these are re-scheduled please let us know.