Keeping your pet happy and healthy during lockdown

The Coronavirus outbreak will undoubtably be disrupting both you and your furry friend’s regular routine. With a number of pet owners now working from home, or self-isolating, we’ve pulled together some top tips to help keep your pets happy and healthy during this uncertain time.

Exercising

Current Government guidelines state that pet owners are able to leave the house to walk their dogs once a day, but we know this may not be possible for everyone or enough exercise for highly energetic dogs.

Don’t worry, there are things you can do in and around the home to help keep them healthy. Simple games such as fetch and hide and seek involve both physical and mental activity. If you’ve got a garden, you could also try some basic agility exercises with you dog – just be careful to follow safety guidelines if you do so.

We all know how important it is to provide your dog with regular physical exercise, but it is also super important to give them mental exercise too.

If your dog isn’t one for game play, why not ditch the food bowl, and make a dinner time food puzzle. All you need is a muffin tin and tennis balls. Pop a treat or dinner biscuits in each hole of the tin, then place a tennis ball on top. Your cat or dog will need to figure out how to manipulate the balls to get to the food.

Feeding

Luckily, pet shops are classed as essential services, so there’s no need to panic buy. As your dog’s daily exercise may be somewhat less than usual, now would be a good time to look at their diet to ensure they’re being fed the right amount for their breed, age and size.

If you’re concerned that your pet may be over eating now that their exercise levels have dropped, it’s important not to suddenly cut down portion sizes at meal time. Instead, gradually reduce the portion size by 5% to 15% and be sure to monitor their weight and overall condition.

Why not replace high calorie treats with homemade low-fat treats, or keep it simple with water-base vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cucumber.

Grooming

Most dog owners, and owners of long-coated cats, will have their pet professionally groomed at various intervals throughout the year. With grooming salons currently closed, your dog or cat may be looking a little long and scruffy and you could be tempted to grab the scissors or shears - don’t!

Professional groomers are taking to social media to ask owners to put down the scissors and reach for the brush instead. Your pet’s coat helps them with temperature regulation and sun protection. Brushing your pet’s fur helps to distribute natural oils throughout the coat, as well as preventing matts and reducing the amount of hair on your furniture.