Keep Your Pets Happy and Healthy
You are not the only one who had to deal with lockdown. For your pets, the change in routine and having you around 24/7 may have caused some stress as well. Now with the colder months starting and you going back to a regular routine, it may be more of a challenge to exercise and treat your pets. Here are our tips for keeping your furry family members healthy.
Adjusting to new Routines
Help your pets adjust to you going back to work by giving them some extra care. Add some extra playtime before leaving in the mornings to get their energy out. This will help avoid any potentially destructive behaviour your leaving may cause as your pet will be more likely to sleep while you are away.
Develop a positive connection with your leaving by giving your pet a treat at the door just before you leave. This will make them happy to see you leave every day and the routine will help them feel more relaxed.
Treat treasure hunt
Give your cat or dog some exciting and rewarding exercise with their own scavenger hunt.
For cats, this can be done using their regular food portion, divided into separate bowls or using a few treats (don’t give more than the recommended daily amount). It’s as easy as putting your chosen “treasure” in separate bowls and placing them in different places around the house so your cat needs to look for them. Remember to put them in safe, easy to see and access places that your cat would usually use such as a window sill, on a chair or simply on the floor. It’s also a good idea to make a note of where you put the food so you can pick up any leftovers. As your cat gets the hang of it you can increase the difficulty by hiding the bowls without them seeing where you are putting them or putting them out of sight. Keep an eye on them while they go about the hunt in case they get bored or decide to catch something they shouldn’t.
For dogs, you can start by throwing a small treat close by and telling them to find it. Do this a few times, throwing it further away each time. Once your dog has gotten the hang of it you can hide the “treasure” in different spots such as behind doors, on a chair, in a bowl or in a different room. Make sure they are looking at the treat before throwing it and guide them using your hand if they are struggling to find a well-hidden treat.
Regular playtime is vital for exercise, mental stimulation and bonding. You can take playtime to the next level by setting up a simple obstacle course for your pet to enjoy. Make sure you have enough room for you and your pet to move around safely and use easily collapsible and soft objects so your pet does not get hurt if they knock something over. Remember to keep it fun, don’t force your pet to do an activity they are not interested in and reward them for a job well done. Adjust the course to suit your pet’s size, ability and skill level.
Jumping obstacles: Use a hula-hoop or pool noodle and get your dog to jump over it. Keep your dog safe by starting on the ground and gradually increase the height as your pet’s skills and confidence improve. Use treats or a toy at the start to entice them to walk over the obstacle.
Weaving: Start with two obstacles such as coldrink bottles placed in a row and have your pet zig-zag through them. As they learn you can add more obstacles to the line. Dog’s are best taught to do this by following you through a few times. For cat’s, you can use a toy on a string to lead them through.
Tunnel: Drape a blanket over the back of some chairs or a table to make a tunnel. Place a treat or a toy at the end of the tunnel to encourage your pet to walk through.
Take the stairs (for dogs): Get excess energy out by walking up and down the stairs with your dog. This exercise is not ideal for small breeds such as dachshunds who may struggle with the stairs.
Homemade Treats for Pet
Treat your pets with some homemade snacks. These recipes are easy to make and store for when you want to reward your pets. Treats should make up a maximum of 10% of your pet’s daily nutrition.
Canned Food Dog Treats (from Hills)
1 can of dog food
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Shake the loaf of food out of the can and cut into bite-sized pieces about 6cm thick.
- Place on a baking sheet-lined oven pan and bake for about 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool and store treats in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Tuna Cat Treats (from Supakit)
– 1 egg white
– 1 tin tuna in oil or water (drained)
- Preheat your oven to 170°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Separate the egg and place the white in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk the egg white until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
- In a separate bowl, add the tin of tuna and add two tablespoons of the whisked egg white. Blend until a smooth paste is formed.
- Gently fold the tuna mixture into the remaining whisked egg white.
- Pipe or spoon the mixture into small bite-sized dollops on the baking paper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the treats feel dry to the touch and easily move around the baking paper.
- Leave to cool and store in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.