Many of us are going to be spending a lot of time at home with our pets in the coming weeks, whether we are just social distancing or self-isolating, so we have collected a few ideas to brighten your days at home with your fur family.
If you are social distancing, you can still walk your dog as long as you keep a 2m distance from other walkers. But if you have been asked to self-isolate, unfortunately you won’t be able to do so. There are lots of local dog walkers who would probably appreciate your business at this difficult time. Otherwise, see if a member of your family or a friend can take your dog out for you, or get in touch with your nearest Mutual Aid group (https://covidmutualaid.org).
But if that isn’t possible, don’t fret, as there are plenty of ways to keep your dog entertained at home! If you have a garden, make sure your dog gets out for plenty of breaks to have a good sniff and explore. You can take some toys with you and play fetch or tug of war.
Inside, you can hide treats around the house for your dog to find. Puzzle toys are great for keeping a dog busy and challenging their brain! Putting some treats or peanut butter in a treat-dispensing toy will keep them happy and occupied. If you don’t have any puzzle toys, you can improvise your own – try cutting a hole or two into an empty plastic bottle, filling it with treats and putting the lid back on. Just make sure you take it away from your dog if they shred the bottle to avoid them swallowing any plastic.
If your dog has a few toys, try rotating through them so that they only have one at a time and can get really excited when you bring out the next one. If your dog is getting restless or anxious, have a long stroking or grooming session. There are playlists and videos of calming music for dogs available online.
As we all know, cats are used to us coming and going and generally do their own thing! But if you’re looking for fun ways to spend time with your cat while you’re together, try playing with a wand toy – it’s easy to improvise your own with some ribbons or feathers and a stick. You can also make your own rattling puzzle toy by filling a toilet roll with treats and folding the ends down – there should be plenty of those around! Cats also love the opportunity to hunt for their food, so treat dispensing toys are great for them, as is a good game of hide-the-treat.
We hope these ideas can help you make the most of this unexpected bonding time with your fur family. Remember to wash your hands after interacting with your pets, and if you have tested positive for Covid-19, always follow your doctor’s advice with regards to contact with animals.
Alex, Vet Nurse