As the effects of the coronavirus continue to take hold, many of us are taking steps to self-isolate in line with government advice. Staying in over going out, distancing ourselves from others and working from home are now familiar measures that we are all taking to slow the spread of the virus.
These changes to our daily routine have come to the delight of pets, who will be welcoming their owner’s presence at home with open paws. However, concerns around doggy boredom and safety have led to many of you reaching out to us for advice on how to keep your dog entertained at home during these restricted times.
In this article, we are going to try to address all of your concerns, as well as offer some tips to ensure that COVID-19 has as little impact as possible on our four-legged friends.
Dogs and cats cannot catch the coronavirus
Firstly, it is worth us reiterating that dogs (and cats) cannot contract, nor become ill from COVID-19. However, they can transmit the virus to humans through their fur, and with this in mind, there are a number of sensible precautions that we need to take:
While a pet cannot be a carrier of COVID-19, there are a couple of sanitary recommendations that we need to follow to avoid the risk of our dogs becoming a threat to our health.
We have spoken with Cynthia, vet and Gudog sitter, who has outlined some measures that dog owners should take to protect their own health amid the coronavirus pandemic:
Start with good hygiene
It is within a dog’s nature to roll around, attract affection from people and actively put themselves in contact with other dogs. Cynthia recommends frequently bathing your dog if possible, and brushing them thereafter. Other than frequent baths, wiping their paws after each walk is a great step towards not only good doggy hygiene, but also to protecting yourself.
Wash leads and dog bowls regularly
As they regularly come into contact with human hands, disinfecting dog leads is a sensible measure for owners to take. Moreover, routinely washing out your dog’s bowl after each meal is a small but logical practice to keep germs at bay.
Taking dogs for a walk
As a dog owner, it’s fair to say that taking your pet out for a walk is pretty unavoidable. However, there are a number of precautions that we should take to ensure that exercising our dogs does not hamper our other efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. We suggest the following:
- Don’t let your dog off the lead
- Avoid socialisation with other dogs
- Maintain distance from other people and dogs
- Discourage people from petting your dog
- Avoid petting other dogs yourself!
- Don’t let your pet sniff other dog waste
- Stay away from benches, railings etc
- Always clean up your dog’s waste
- Make your walks short, and avoid busy areas if possible
In short, dogs should practice their own social distancing; avoiding people other than their owners and their furry pals. When you do go out, be kind and politely ask people to keep a sensible distance. With all things considered, people will understand and they might even follow your example.
How to keep your dog entertained during self-isolation
As with ourselves, we need to substitute our dogs’ lack of physical activity and socialisation with other activities inside the home. These may require imagination and at times a little effort, but your dog will thank you, and you might get a bit of peace!
Here are some indoor games to keep your dog entertained at home:
The cupcake tray game
If you have a cupcake tray, over the next couple of weeks it will become your closest ally to combat doggy boredom. All you need is a cupcake or muffin tray, balls or a similar dog-friendly item to cover the holes and a couple of treats to hide in them. Simply hide a treat in a couple of the holes and watch your dog use their sense of small to lift the balls and discover the treats!
Housebound treasure hunt
Get a couple of treats and hide them around the house. Try to put some in more accessible places, and in others that require your dog to have a more extensive search. This will keep your dog entertained for a while, though remember to have a good reccie later on to make sure that no treats have been left undiscovered!
Hunting games such as these are the most satisfying and relaxing activities for dogs, as they need to focus all of their energy into their sense of smell. This is a great way to keep your dog entertained when you find yourself spending more time indoors.
DIY dog snuffle mats
Dust off your DIY tools and create your own snuffle mat by following the steps in the clip below. Though it may take a bit of effort, the mat will keep your dog entertained for hours, and you might find creating your masterpiece to be a welcome artsy distraction.
When considering toys in to keep your dog entertained, Kong is most definitely king. These refillable treat toys are nothing new to most dog owners, but for those who haven’t as of yet, now is the time to invest!
There is a great selection of Kong toys available on Amazon, so why not order today to make your dog’s isolation a lot more fun and tasty.
Below we have a Spotify playlist designed to help dogs relax. Pop it on to have a calming effect on your dog if you find yourself needing a bit of respite from their boundless energy.
Practicing yoga with your dog can be a fun way of spending time with your dog when you both find yourselves spending more time indoors. Moreover, due to their perceptive nature, any stress you are carrying invariably rubs off on them, so practicing a little mindfulness can have a positive impact on both of your health whilst also keeping your dog entertained.
Make the most of your unexpected isolation by embracing your inner dog whisperer. Whether practicing basic commands such as sit and down, or introducing new tricks, investing time into your dog’s training now will certainly pay off long after the days of COVID-19 are over.
Treat your best friend to the pampering they deserve, with a luxury spa treatment that requires nothing more than your own two hands.
Watch the video below to learn the techniques of dog massage, and become your pet’s very own personal masseur today.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips for keeping your dog happy and healthy at home. At Gudog, the safety and wellbeing of our community is our number one priority. We hope that all of our sitters, owners and of course, our dogs are weathering the storm of COVID-19 as well as possible.
The Gudog team