Pandemic Tips for Pets; Dogs and exercise

DrPaul -

Pandemic Tips for Pets; Dogs and exercise

Life during the pandemic has resulted in lots of changes and disruptions to our regular routines so we need to constantly adapt to keep ourselves and our pets happy and healthy.
Most would agree that dogs need regular and stable routines so this disruption can cause all sorts of problems. So what about exercise routines?
Here is some of my advice on how to keep you and your dog safe and healthy without compromising on their daily walks.

The importance of walkies.
Daily walks are not just important for toileting but are classed as essential to meet their physical and psychological needs. Just as fish need to swim and birds need to fly, dogs need to be walked. Walkies provide them with not only mental stimulation, but physical exercise to keep fit and healthy and provide opportunities to express natural behaviours. Certain elements of training are also better performed whilst out on walks. Quarantining the dog for a long period is not recommended as it could quickly lead to a number of frustration based behavioural problems. These behaviours could include;
● Biting or chewing furniture
● Agitation and pacing
● Self-harming behaviour such as licking at paws, tail biting or over grooming
● Over eating-in some cases going off of food (reductions in appetite should always be brought to the attention of your vet to rule out illness)
● Sleeping more

What to do if you and your family are in isolation or unwell?

If you are currently in isolation or quarantine under recommended government guidance this means you are not allowed out of the house to walk the dog. It is important to make plans for your dog to be walked by a friend or neighbour during this time. If you are unable to call upon a friend, relative or neighbour there are helpful nationwide organisations such as Borrow My Doggy, Rover and Wag which offer dog walking services as well as plenty of local dog walkers that are carefully vetted, insured and accessible online.
Whilst there is no evidence to suggest that cats and dogs can transmit the virus to humans they may be able to carry it on their fur, leads or collars if exposed to a person who has symptomatic covid-19. If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus you should avoid excessive handling or your pet and certainly don’t allow them near your face. . .
Here are a few top tips on how to keep you and your dog walker safe:
● Wipe down the lead and harness before and after the walk with an antibacterial wipe.
● Where possible upon returning wipe your dog down with a clean, damp disposable cloth.
● PPE such as gloves should be worn by the dog walker and hand washing before and after the walk is essential.
● Dog walkers should remove and wash all shoes and clothing that have come into contact with the dog as soon as they get home.
● Dog walkers should keep the dog on the lead or walk in areas where they will come into little or no contact with other dogs and dog walkers.
● Dog walkers should not allow passers by to pet the dog.

Paul Manktelow

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Paul Manktelow is a vet who's worked for almost 20 years on the front line in some of the UK's busiest veterinary hospitals. Paul also appears regularly in the media as a TV and radio presenter, writer, public speaker and podcast producer.