Our precious pets are certainly feeling the effects of COVID-19. We share some top tips to keep your feline friends and canine companions safe and well during this uneasy time.
From dogs who are simply refusing to walk, to felines wondering why their pet parents are home so often, companion animals across the globe are feeling the pinch of this current pandemic. The great news is for many pet lovers, having all this extra time at home is a wonderful excuse to indulge in plenty of snuggles and cuddles with our four-legged friends.
But how do we ensure that all this extra love is not causing any problems. The biggest problems many pet owners are facing is weight gain – for both humans and pets. Obesity is one of the largest issues currently facing pets, with many companion animals already struggling with weight related issues before the pandemic lockdown. Obesity can lead to a large range of issues for pets including:
- Joint problems
- Cruciate ligaments
- Cardiovascular disease
- Increase risk of cancer
- Extra stress on organs
- Reduction of life expectancy
The key is to limit the amount of human foods you are feeding your pet and to always follow your pet food manufactures advice on portion sizes. It’s also a good idea to remove the amount of treats you give your pet, from this recommended amount, to prevent accidental over-feeding.
Don’t forget the exercise! Even for your friendly feline who may be feeling a little anxious too. A good 10 minutes play session with your cat can get them moving and burning those calories quickly.
If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, it’s advised to pop along to your local vet for a check-up and some trusty advice.
All That Exercise
For many dogs, the daily walk is becoming the daily chore. Dogs from all around the globe are pounding the pavement to the extreme since the outbreak of COVID-19. Our love for the daily walk has increased due to isolation and our desire to get out and about. For our dogs in particular, this has created some issues. Social media is currently flooded with videos and messages of dogs simply refusing to walk, reverting some owners to carry, and sometimes even dragging their dogs homeward bound.
If your dog is losing interest in their daily walk there are some top tips that can help:
1. Change up your route
Make a plan, map it out and change your walking route a few times per week. This could be as easy as taking another path home or reversing the walk or even just walking on the other side of the road. Adding a simple element of surprise and change can help your pet enjoy their walking experience.
2. High Energy
For your high energy pets, think about pushing their training capabilities while on-lead or introduce a doggy-backpack. This will not only challenge their minds but also add some extra weight to keep their blood pumping.
3. Don’t Over Do It
Two good walks per day is ample for all dogs. Consider one walk for your pet to go at their own pace and smell and stop when needed, and one high intensity walk or jog.
4. Stop to Smell the Roses
Consider if you are taking a walk for you, or your pet? Allowing your dog to stop and sniff will allow them to explore all the wonderful smells your chosen route has to offer. Before heading off on your daily walk consider if you are doing this for fitness or to enhance your pets experience of the outside world.
With your pet being on-lead it’s a great opportunity to train. Training is not only beneficial to keep your pet safe, it’s also a wonderful way to improve the human/canine bond by developing your own language. Sitting at crossings or traffic lights, walking nicely on lead, with no pulling, are some basics. For more advance consider ‘eyes on me’ when walking past other dogs or ‘close or heel’ when asking your dog to stay closer to your side when crossing major roads. Remember to treat your dog with lots of praise.