There’s a lot of love here at Amherst Psychology for dogs so we wanted to give some tips on how best to manage looking after your dog if you’re isolating. Thanks to Joyce Lau, one of our amazing admin team members who is also a highly skilled veterinarian nurse, for these helpful tips.
Who will walk my dogs when I'm isolating?
Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 is unlikely to be transmitted between companion animals and people, however, if you have COVID-19, it’s best to maintain good hygiene before and after touching your pet, food, or equipment. If possible, it’s best if your pet stays with you during isolation. However, if they need to be walked several times a day or can't toilet within the premises you could ask a relative to take your dog(s) for the duration of your quarantine.
It's not recommended that your relative, friend or dog walker visits you to take your dog out for daily walks as it increases the chance of spreading the virus. At the end of the day, missing walks for 7 days is not the end of the world, and most dogs will cope okay if you provide alternative mental stimulation and other forms of exercise at home. If you live in an apartment with no backyard, you could try an indoor, artificial pet grass or puppy pee pads for dog toileting needs.
How to occupy them?
TREATS, TREATS and more TREATS!!!!
You can keep dogs and other pets occupied by spreading out their feeds into several mealtimes instead of the general one or two. You can also invest in dog puzzles from pet shops such as Pet Barn, City Farmers or online – these puzzles allow you to hide little bits of their food in different compartments and your dog(s) will need to figure out how to get to their treat or food.
Invest in dog toys like the brand KONG. These dog chew toys are meant for those who love to chew on tough materials. You can apply peanut butter inside the hollow section of the toy or fill it up with your dog's favourite treat or meal and then freeze them. This will provide hours of fun for your dog during the day.
Other ways of keeping you pooch occupied is to play fetch games inside the home if you have the space. Alternatively, sign up for doggie training masterclasses and teach your dogs a new trick or command. You can also freeze boiled chicken pieces in water in containers or in silicone cake pan and let you dog try and get to the pieces in your backyard (this can get quite messy indoors!). You can also get creative and create a treasure hunt for your canine friend by hiding bits of treats around the house in toilet paper rolls or in cardboard boxes you have lying around.
Learning new tricks are not just for dogs, you can also learn a magic trick online and perform it for your dog, but use treats instead to keep your canine audience engaged! If you have the energy, play with your dog by doing zoomies and tug of to provide mental stimulation for you and your dog. The trick is to get creative!!
If your pet is unwell
If your pet becomes ill during quarantine, call the vet and if appropriate, they may be able to provide telehealth. If not, discuss with your vet what the best and safest approach to getting your pet the care they need during this time. If this is not sufficient, and your dog needs to visit the vet, ask a family or friend to take them.
Err on the side of caution and expect that at some point you may be isolating. Hence, it is a good idea to start investing and introducing the above toys, puzzles, and pet loo before this happens. These toys will come in handy when your dogs are left at home alone while you're at work in the future. Create a contingency plan if you do need to isolate or are tested positive for Covid.