Our pets are incredible mood boosters, and we boost their mood as well!
Now that you’re spending more time together in lockdown, we want to help you make the most of your bonding time with some indoor and outdoor COVID-safe activities.
Let’s go for a walk!
It seems like obvious advice, but we here’s WHY walking your dog is important, and HOW you can make the most out of your short stint outside.
The physical benefits of walking your dog
Just like humans, a lack of regular exercise can cause your dog to become overweight, which can introduce potential health problems like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis.
Immobility, particularly in elderly animals, can cause a decline in joint health. Keeping their joints in motion will improve their function, now and in the future.
The mental health benefits for walking
Your pets want to explore the sights, sounds and smells of the world. If they’re confined inside for too long they can get bored, which usually leads to destructive behaviour like digging, chewing and barking.
They need an outlet for all that pent up energy. Walking’s also great for your dog’s socialisation skills and to build their confidence around other people and animals.
Making the most of your walks during lockdown
Unfortunately, COVID restrictions means that in-person socialising is on pause. To avoid running into other dogs and their owners, try to steer clear of public spaces and high traffic areas like the dog park, busy beaches or main streets and shops. It’s a good excuse to explore the local paths and parks around your neighbourhood.
Depending on your dog’s age, breed and overall health, sometimes just walking isn’t enough. A good rule of thumb is to spend at least 30 minutes each day on an activity with your dog.
Games like fetch are great. You can also challenge them by taking them to a hiking trail or have fun with an obstacle course that includes sprinting and agility, like running around cones. Active breeds like sheepdogs will love this!
As we’re indoors with our pets for much of the time in lockdown, it’s a perfect opportunity to try out new toys and activities.
Learn a new trick
Investing time in training is never wasted. It’s a great way to bond with your pet and to help you live harmoniously together. Try teaching your pet something useful, like putting away their own toys or to play hide and seek with food and toys.
Easy entertainment options
Cats are naturally less active than dogs, so we recommend horizontal cardboard scratching boards. The material feels good under their paws, but any cat scratcher will do.
Cats also love a good chasing game, which will help them maintain a healthy weight and stay stimulated throughout the day.
Chew toys provide endless entertainment for pets, especially dogs. There are thousands of options of chew toys on the market that will keep your pet entertained and mentally active for hours.
Pay close attention to your pet’s health
Now that you’re spending 24/7 with your pet, you’re able to observe their behaviours and routine more closely and notice any changes.
If you’re worried about an illness or condition in your pet, here’s how you can gather information to provide your vet if needed:
1. If you think your pet is drinking more than usual, try and measure their water intake by recording the amount of water you put down each day and collect back the next day. If you have multiple pets at home – try measuring how long your pet in question sits and drinks at the water bowl and how frequently.
2. Record any episodes of vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, or other concerning behaviours in a diary to establish patterns. What time of day are we vomiting? Is it after food? Every small observation helps.
5. Try to video odd behaviours (like a peculiar cough, fit, or similar) that may not happen in front of the vet in a consult.
4. If you think it might be related, try and collect a urine or faecal sample into a clean disposable container (e.g. disposable food container, then covered in a plastic bag) on the day of your appointment for us to examine or test. This will save time and possibly a second appointment if we can’t get a sample at the clinic.
What if I need to visit the vet during lockdown?
It is very important that we all do our part to remain COVID-safe to prevent further spread of the virus. At Fletcher Vet, we have the following measures in place to protect our staff & clients:
- We will now be sending a text message to all of our clients who have a consultation on the day. This text message will have a link that allows you to check in to our clinic and wait inside the comfort of your own car
- To use our Online Check In QR code, please use your camera to scan it. The NSW app will not work for this.
If there is any trouble with the link, there is a QR code for client’s to use on the front pillars to check in. This QR code is for clients who are picking up food or medication. Alternatively, we have an ipad out the front to check in.
There are several things that our clients can do to minimise their contact time in the clinic:
- We offer to post out all prescription medications, worming, flea & tick preventatives to save you a visit.
- If you call in advance before coming in to pick up food or medications, we can prepare your order and take payment over the phone so that when you do come down, it is a fast and easy pick up.
- If you are worried about an issue with your pet, please call us first before booking an appointment so we can offer advice first. Some issues are minor and can be resolved over the phone (and some can’t), and our helpful staff will be able to direct you accordingly.
More information on our COVID-19 policy see our blog post here or call the clinic on 4955 6670.