This article is contributed by guest writer, @Dakota_Murphey.
COVID-19: How To Self-Isolate With Your Dog
Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you will probably know all too well about how disruptive the coronavirus outbreak has, and still continues, to be.
Many workers around the world have now been told to self-isolate at home in order to minimize the spread of the virus. If you are one of those people affected, you may find yourself now wondering how you’re going to cope with a prolonged period of time stuck in your home without pulling yours, or your loved ones’, hair out.
If you’re a dog owner as well, you’ll probably be full of questions related to the welfare and safety of your canine companion. You’ll likely be asking yourself, for instance; can I still walk my dog while self-isolating? Will I still be able to visit the vet if they get sick? And what will happen if I run out of their specialist dog food?
Well have no fear – we are here to help. If anything, your dog will enjoy being able to spend some quality time with you while you’re stuck at home with them. However, since you probably won’t be able to walk them as freely as you normally would, you’ll have to find ways to keep them entertained. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Teach them some new tricks
The phrase ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ simply isn’t true, so why not use your time in self-isolation to teach your pooch a few new things? After all, keeping your pooch’s brain active is imperative to stave off their level of boredom and keep them entertained during their time at home.
Whether you go for the classic ‘paw’ or ‘sit’ – if they don’t know them already – there a ton of new things you can teach your dog while self-isolating. Here are few you could think about:
- Roll Over
- Play Dead
- Take A Bow
2. Have a treasure hunt
Like we’ve mentioned already, keeping your dog happy and entertained is vital when it comes to self-isolating. It’s also important to keep their brain active so, why not kill two birds with one stone by setting up a doggy treasure hunt for them?
Hide a few treats in different rooms and around the garden if you have one, and see how quickly it takes for them to find them. Not only will this keep their brains active for a short period of time, but it’ll also make them feel very happy since what kind of dog doesn’t love a treat or two.
If you’d rather not go to the effort of doing an actual treasure hunt though, you could always freeze treats inside a cube of ice. Once your dog gets a sniff of the treats, they’ll be entertained for hours trying to break through the ice to get to the yummy goodies inside.
3. Make a snuffle mat
A snuffle mat is a great way of stimulating your dogs’ senses and they are super easy to make. To create one of your own, you will ideally need to have a rubber mat with some holes in, a few strips of fabric or fleece, and a pair of scissors.
Once you have gathered all these materials, you’ll then need to simply weave the strips of fabric through the holes on the mat which will, in turn, create a sensory haven for your dog to explore. When you’ve finished, it should look a bit like a flower or a large microfiber cloth.
Hide a couple of treats in the fabric and sit back, relax and watch your dog have fun trying to find them. While it obviously won’t replace their need for a walk, snuffle mats are still a great way of keeping your pooch entertained while they’re stuck indoors.
4. Play games
Dogs are known for having barrels of energy, being able to spend hours on end running to their heart’s content around the park. When stuck inside, these levels of energy only build up and up and your dog will start to stress when unable to release it.
To combat this, take an interest in them and play games with them around the home. If you have a garden, run around in a circle and make them chase after you to get rid of some of that energy. Or, if you’re stuck indoors, play fetch with a few of their favorite toys, throwing them from room to room.
Dogs often reflect the levels of energy their owners give out. By keeping your own spirits and level of enthusiasm up, your dog will too, meaning your time in self-isolation should be over before you even know it.
Please visit the CDC’s website for the latest information on Animals and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).