Keeping your Dog Stimulated Inside While Practicing Social Isolation
As of now, there is no real evidence showing that COVID-19 can physically affect our canine counterparts. Still, the massive disruption in our day-to-day lives as a result of this ever-evolving pandemic can have a major impact on our pets’ overall health and happiness if we’re not careful.
Our pets give us so much comfort, especially in times of anxiety and stress. In this current health crisis, let’s work together to ensure we are giving back to our furry companions too.
At My Dog Spot, we take pride in caring for the pets in our community and we want to extend a helping hand to those of you who are stuck at home and need some help with ideas on how to keep your pets mentally and physically stimulated while stuck inside.
How Does Social Isolation Affect My Pet?
Our pets are used to our daily routines and they revolve their lives around what time we get up, go to work, feed them and take them on walks.
A dramatic disruption to your pet’s daily schedule can be extremely overwhelming and nerve wracking for them, even if that disruption puts you at home and by their side. Dogs are incredibly intuitive when it comes to us, so on top of having their daily routines turned upside down, they are also picking up on our energy, stress and anxiety.
Luckily, there are plenty of fun ways you can help keep your dog occupied and mentally stimulated while stuck inside. Besides, practicing these good habits with your dog will help keep you entertained as well.
Can I Still Exercise My Dog During Social Isolation?
The short answer to this question is YES!
Just because you’re being responsible and practicing social isolation does not mean you have to skimp on staying active with your pooch. There are plenty of ways to keep both you and your dog moving, even in smaller spaces like apartments.
If you are lucky enough to have your own backyard, try to allow yourself a good half an hour to an hour of playtime outside with your dog. Throw the ball, play chase, blow bubbles for him to catch, create a fun doggy obstacle course for him, and just focus on getting all those wild wiggles out.
If you don’t have a backyard or if the weather is gloomy or wet, you can always create some fun ways to get your dog’s heart pumping indoors.
Grab a plush toy and move some furniture around if you need to in order to play a safe game of fetch inside. You can also hide healthy dog treats around your house and send your dog on a fun scavenger hunt.
Ball pits don’t just have to be for backyard play! If you have a baby pool, fill it with toys and balls and toss some treats in. Your dog will go wild and clean up is easy.
Staying active with your dog will not only help him to alleviate the stress of being cooped up, but it will help you too.
That said, we also want to note that dogs will still benefit from routine walks. If you have a dog walker, try not to cancel appointments. Instead, work to communicate with your walker about the steps they are taking to ensure your dog and house are protected from the COVID-19 virus.
Along with taking practical and routine hygiene steps, our My Dog Spot dog walkers make sure to wear fresh latex gloves for each appointment. They are currently walking dogs with their own personal leashes and are even making sure to wipe their dogs’ paws before bringing them back inside.
Our walkers also work to keep their dogs mentally stimulated during walks, but this is something all dog owners can do at home as well.
Mental stimulation is just as important as exercise when it comes to keeping your dog happy and healthy. Working on keeping your dog properly stimulated will also help keep your dog from becoming destructive and bored.
Fun Ways You Can Keep Your Pet Mentally Stimulated During Social Isolation
Social isolation certainly has an impact on you and now you know it can affect your pet. How do you know if your pet is suffering the effects of having a dramatically changed routine and schedule?
Keep an eye on your dog and watch their body language. Remember that calm, relaxed dogs are happy, move loosely, and have relaxed expressions. Dogs who are anxious tend to hide, tremble, yawn, lick, and pant excessively. Dogs who are in need of more mental and physical stimulation may also turn to destructive behaviors like chewing and digging out of boredom and stress.
Instead of getting frustrated with your dog if he is exhibiting these unwanted behaviors instead try to pay attention to what his behavior is telling you and work to help keep him stay mentally challenged instead.
You Can Help Keep Your Pet Mentally Stimulated While Practicing Social Isolation By:
Teaching your dog some new tricks using treats and praise
Creating an indoor scavenger hunt
Investing in some puzzle toys. There are plenty on Amazon and companies offer fast deliveries.
Teach your dog the names of his toys and have him retrieve them upon request
Teach your dog how to get you something like a drink from the fridge.
Teach your dog how to help sort the laundry or load the dishwasher
Create an indoor obstacle course for your dog
Have your dog work for his food by performing tricks before mealtime
Play well controlled games of tug-of-war teaching your dog to ‘take’ the rope to begin and to ‘drop’ the rope to end the game,
Remember, all pets learn differently and some may take to the above tasks more quickly than others.
Still, if you have plenty of time on your hands while in social isolation with your dog, you might as well find out just how intelligent your pooch is. Heck, you may even learn a thing or two yourself.
Good luck and stay healthy out there!