Covid19 and Your Pets - How To Avoid Boredom While Practicing Social Isolation

March 31st 2020

Isolation can be hard on all of us, mentally and physically and of course that includes our dogs. There are no bad dogs, just bored ones! A bored dog can be destructive, or become mopey. It’s also not easy on us humans. We are social creatures and crave companionship.
 
As pet owners, we enjoy spending time with our furry friends but also know we may be trying to work from home and do not always have time to paly with them. Therefore, we need to find ways to keep them stimulated and engaged, much like children). 
 
 We are sharing some of the current information about what you can do with your dog outside and sharing some ideas for close to home and indoor ways to keep them (and ourselves) entertained.  

You can still go for walks, and if you can’t there is help for that

Alberta chief medical officer Deena Hinshaw has directed that if you are not under a self-isolation order and are not exhibiting symptoms of Covid 19 - sore throat, fever, cough, and runny nose - you may walk your dog as long as you are practicing the social distancing measures of staying two meters away from others you encounter.
 
If you are quarantined or in mandatory self-isolation because you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 or have returned from travel outside of Canada and are exhibiting symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you cannot leave your home. This is a big issue for dog owners living in apartments. You can have someone else walk your pet, including neighbours, friends or family. If you don’t have anyone nearby to help you out, a group of University of Calgary students have formed a volunteer group that will help out with dog walking. Call Rebecca at 780-862-0128 or click here for more information.
 
You can arrange a time for pick up and have your dog tied up outside on its leash. The person walking your pet should take precautions like washing their hands after walking your dog and wearing gloves and mask while with your dog.
 

Calgary dog parks are open, with restricted use

While Calgary has not closed its dog parks, social distancing rules applies. The current rules include, staying two metres away from others, and public gatherings are restricted to 15 people are in place. Dog parks can be crowded places, especially as the weather improves and feel a need to get out. However, if you arrive at the dog park and find that you cannot abide by these rules, you need to leave. Instead, walk closer to home in an area where you can easily maintain your distance from others.
 

If you have a yard, set up an agility course

You can use planks, enclosed tubes, ramps and small gates for them to jump over. Make sure that all the equipment you use is appropriate to their size.
This company that makes dog agility equipment could provide some inspiration for DIY equipment you can build at home.
 

Teach an old (or young) dog a new trick

You can take this time to improve your dog’s behaviour or his/her trick repertoire.
There are plenty of online resources for dog trainers online.
 
The Dog Star Daily has many useful tips.
 
When seeking a trainer, always look for trainers who are certified and are using positive rewards-based methods only. Beware of the term “balanced trainer” as the word “balanced” may sound appealing, it actually involves both punishment as well as positive reinforcement.
 

BONUS: Boredom busters for cats

Most cats are self-reliant and likely haven’t noticed that there is a lockdown in place.

However, there are ways to keep YOU and your cat amused when you are both stuck at home.
 

DIY toys

Recycled Cloth Toy
Get an old t-shirt or two, preferably with bright colours and interesting patterns, and cut them into 4-5 strips, or fray the ends. Tie together with a hair tie on one or both ends. You can tie the cloth onto the end of a stick or clothes hanger to create a chasing toy.
 
Make a toy tree
Using spare wood or anything you have available to make a tree-like structure.
Repurpose your cat’s toys by hanging them on the tree, within your cat’s reach.
Or hang anything shiny, noisy, or bright on tree. Things you might have around the house are feathers, bells, string, yarn or hair ties.
 
Just make sure nothing you hang on their toy tree is small enough to be swallowed by your cat.
 
 
If you are spending more time at home, like most of us, enjoy the extra cuddles with your furry friends. There is nothing better than a warm cat or (small) dog on your lap as you work the day away. If you are having a hard time with the current situation, cat and dog cuddles can be great therapy.
 
If you need us, we are here for you! Call us at  403-615-8016  to ask questions or book a mobile, tele-vet medicine, or curbside drop-off clinic visit.
 
If you are looking for ways to keep your pet entertained and aren’t into DIY, you can check out our e-boutique for toys, treats, and dog and cat chews that will help keep your pet active and healthy.
 
If you have had an appointment or made a purchase at our clinic in the last year you will have received an email with an invitation to sign up for a login to the e-boutique. If you missed that email, call the clinic at  403-615-8016  to get your secure sign in.

Once you have your secure login, visit www.montgomeryvillagevet.ca, click the orange e-boutique button, enter your login information and then create your order.
 

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