How can I keep my dog in a routine while I’m working from home?
It can be very exciting for your dog to have you home all day but you also want to make sure you’re set up for when normal routines resume otherwise your dog could have separation anxiety when you go back to work. Ensuring your dog has as normal a routine as possible is really important. If they start to understand the new structure of the day and when they will be fed, walked and have one-to-one time with you it will help them to feel comfortable. It will also help to get your dog into a routine if you try to start and finish work at the same time each day, and take your break/lunch at the same sort of time – because these are times when you’re more able to connect with your dog. Factor in games and training sessions or just companion times with your dog during your breaks and evenings. Remember that children should always be supervised around dogs, but it’s also important for everyone in the home to know the signs your dog may be showing you to let you know that they may need some space. To keep your dog entertained, here are some fun tips to try:
Have a treasure hunt– hide some of your dog’s favourite treats in different rooms around the house and see how quickly they manage to locate them.
Play their favourite game – Catch? Fetch? Tug of war? They’re all great fun to your dog! Show them some love by spending time playing their favourite game with them.
Provide enrichment toys - A snuffle mat is an enrichment toy that encourages your dog to sniff and search out hidden treats amongst the mat fronds (you can also purchase a ball version of this toy), whilst you take part in a conference all or answer those emails! Other options include:
Scattering food in the grass on a warm day (for those who have a garden).
Hide a biscuit in a toilet or kitchen roll tube, a box or other cardboard / safe to chew item, seal the ends with newspaper/close the box with the biscuit inside.
Put their kibble in a plastic bottle with a narrow neck (ensure you don't do this for dogs that are strong chewers and never leave the dog alone with the bottle or leave the top on the bottle as they can choke on this.
Biscuit/treat balls can be purchased from the pet store in a variety of sizes.
Puzzle toys are available from online pet retailers.
Kong Toys which can be filled with peanut butter, liver pate, cheesy spread or a variety of other options are a great choice for strong chewers. You can also fill them with something and freeze them so it takes your dog longer to get the treats out.
Build them a Doggy Den - Create your furry friend a cosy, comfortable place to sleep – or somewhere for them to relax when it’s time for home schooling or working from home.
Teach them some new tricks! There are plenty of training videos available on YouTube.
Can I walk my dog outside?
The Government has outlined that healthy people who don’t have symptoms and haven’t received a letter telling them to stay at home, can go outside once a day for exercise, and this should include walking your dog. If you live in a multi-person household, each member of the house could take it in turns to walk your dog. It's important to keep two metres apart and avoid situations where your dog might approach and greet other people or dogs. This means walking your dog on a lead when in areas with other people. Don’t be afraid to ask people not to pet your dog to ensure you keep your distance. If you don’t have a garden and need to take your dog out for additional comfort breaks, please stay near your home and ensure you keep your distance from others. It’s important to pick up after your dog and wash your hands thoroughly when you are back home.
Can I still take my dog to the vet?
All veterinary practices are now required to limit face-to-face contact with clients. This means running an emergency care and emergency prescription service only. Neutering (although important) is a preventative healthcare procedure and isn’t usually considered an emergency. As such, surgical neutering appointments will need to be made when normal services start back up again.