Outlines how to keep pets active and healthy during the pandemic, with expert advice on physical and mental stimulation, feeding and working with pandemic regulations.
We have all been impacted one way or another by the rampaging pandemic, but we often forget how it’s affecting our beloved fur babies. Sure, they may be loving the fact that you work from home and they get to spend all day pining for your attention, but the decreased availability of doggy meetups and daycare due to safety guidelines means your dog’s activity level will take a hit if you don’t find strategies for how to keep pets active.
How to keep pets active and healthy during the pandemic
There must be many people seeking ways to keep their pets active and healthy during this time. Luckily, we have a few suggestions from safe social-distanced playtime to nutritional upkeep.
The Importance of Physical Activity and Mental Stimulation
Don’t mistake your pet’s excitement for having you home 24/7 as an indication that they are fine with being cooped up. We all know what it’s like to be at home for an extended period during the pandemic, which has also allowed us to appreciate going out for a breath of fresh air.
This logic is the same for our fur babies. While they may be revelling in the fact of having you home all the time, they still need to get out. We are sure the majority of pet owners out there have their frustrations about getting their work done with their pets craving their attention.
If this sounds like you, then we have a solution that will benefit you and your pooch. They key to getting them to leave you alone is to wear them out both physically and mentally.
Enough exercise can tire out your dog and keep them well-behaved for most of the day so you can get your work done. However, it’s not just about physical exercise as mental stimulation is just as important.
The Right Food is Key
Other than adequate amounts of exercise and mental challenges, giving your fur baby the right nutrition with high quality food is another aspect that will keep them happy and healthy during Covid-19.
Don’t be surprised if your pooch eats just a bit less than before, this could be very likely due to less exercise. However, it’s still important to watch his diet. There are examples of fresh food subscriptions for dogs and supplements that can maintain nutrition levels.
For example, if you have a cocker spaniel, you can look into breed specific foods that cater to their unique needs. Ideal food for cocker spaniels is mostly grain-free and have sufficient amounts of protein to match their energy levels.
If there is breed specific food available for your dog that targets their breed requirements for healthy development, then we would recommend it. If there aren’t any on the market, then considering your dog’s activity levels and individual health requirements is the way to go.
Your vet will have a better idea of what your dog needs. For example, a dog that often overeats will need to ingest less food and sometimes even be put on a healthy weight diet, which some brands produce.
As a general rule of thumb, dog food needs to be well-balanced and made from whole and organic ingredients whenever possible. On the ingredients list, you shouldn’t see anything that isn’t clearly labeled or is obscure. The first few ingredients should always be an animal source of protein.
How Do I Keep My Pet Active During Covid-19?
If it’s permitted, taking walks around the neighbourhood is a great stand-in for regular trips to the park. Your dog may not be able to interact with other canine friends during this time, but he can at least get a few steps in.
If the regulations are stricter where you live, perhaps activity can be limited to the front or backyard. Toss a ball and play fetch with him in the safe confines of your property can also make up for the lack of outings.
For countries with extreme cases of Covid, it’s possible that you won’t be allowed to step outside of your house at all. In this case, we recommend getting creative with your indoor space. Playing hide and seek or fetch inside the house if you have enough space can work just as well as playing outside. Or you could even try some instructional youtube tutorials on how to get started with freestyle dog dancing!
You can even work on your dog’s agility skills by setting up an obstacle course for him to get through. You can start with a very basic over and under course and when he’s mastered that, add more complicated obstructions to challenge him.
The obstacle course is an excellent method for both mental and physical stimulation. The physical aspect is clear, but your dog will have to use a lot of his cognitive and brainpower to figure out how to get through the course.
Other ways to keep your dog active mentally is through training. Teaching your dog a new trick is an excellent way to keep him focused and attentive. Remember to shower him with praise and positive reinforcement whenever he gets something right and learns a new move.
Have you heard of puzzle toys? These toys are exactly what they sound like, little toys with mechanisms to hide treats in and your dog’s job is to figure out how to get his treats out. Some puzzle toys even have customizable levels just in case you have a smart fur baby on your hands.
Even something as simple as stuffing a toy with a treat can keep some pooches occupied for hours, during which you can get some work done. Using chew toys such as antlers can also keep avid chewers busy for a good amount of time.
With most of the world affected by the ongoing pandemic, many of us have learned to adapt to our circumstances and plan our lives around the inconveniences. You need to also take your dog’s needs into account by tailoring their exercise regimen and dog toys to keep them entertained and out of your hair long enough for you to get some peace and quiet. Remember, a tuckered out dog is a well-behaved dog.