Keeping your dog happy during isolation

Following the latest Government announcement, there is a lot of questions dog owners will have. Take a look at an example of frequently asked questions, we want to provide you with helpful tips and advice on how you can help your dog to be happy and healthy while we are inside.

How can I keep my dog in a routine while I’m working from home?
It can be very unusual (but exciting) for your dog to have you home all day. You want to keep a normal routine else your dog could suffer from separation anxiety when everyone in your household goes back to work. It is important to make sure you keep your dogs routine as normal as possible, if you try to get them to understand the structure of each day, like when they will be fed and walked, this makes them feel more comfortable. Another way to get your dog into a routine is try to make sure you have your lunch/break at the same sort of time each day.

Can I walk my dog outside?
It is important that when you take your dog on a walk, you are practicing social distancing. Remember to wash your hands as soon as you get back. When taking your dog out, think how you can keep your dog’s walk interesting. You could try mapping out a slightly different route in advance to give your dog a chance to experience new sights and smells.

Can I walk my dog off lead?
Try to keep your dog on the lead if there are other people around, you want to avoid your dog approaching and greeting another dog. Where dogs are not used to walking on a lead, try to keep their attention and praise them a lot to improve their experience.

Can I still take my dog to the vet?
All veterinary practices are now required to limit face-to-face contact with clients.
This means running an emergency care and emergency prescription service only.
Please call your local veterinary practice if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

Can I meet my friends and their dogs for a walk?
Recent government announcements state you can go on a dog walk with someone from a different household, but remain 2 metres apart, avoid petting their dog and wash your hands as soon as you can.

I’m running out of dog food, what should I do?
Here at Heart Pets Local, we offer a subscription to our nutritional Dog food, this means you can choose to have their food delivered to your door either every 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 weeks. This ensures you will always have food for your dog.  

How do I look after my dog if I’m unwell and self-isolating?
If you come down unwell during self isolation and have a dog that needs walking or perhaps you need more dog food. We suggest you contact your local friends or family, or a neighbour to see if they can help.

Another idea is to create a WhatsApp group with other dog owners in your neighbourhood, helping to build a connection with them. They could help to pick up essentials such as picking up dog food on a trip to the supermarket. Local Authorities or community groups may be providing additional support, so keep an eye on local noticeboards or online forums.

At the moment, there are no confirmed instances of transmission of Coronavirus from pets to people. However, the virus could be passed from person to person via a surface such as a dog’s fur, collar and lead.

To make sure you understand how your dog is feeling, watching your dog’s body movements will give you some ideas, however a wagging tail on your dog is not always a good sign. It can signal agitation or upset as well as happiness, so it is important to look at your dog’s facial expression as well as body movement. Some dogs are harder to ‘read’ than others. However, you can become the expert on your own dog and on what he is ‘saying’.

If your dog is leaning away, with their head lowered, ears back, this may mean that they are telling you they’re uncomfortable. Sometimes they may attempt to retreat and do allow this. One of the most misinterpreted body signals is that of the ‘guilty’ or ‘puppy eyes’ look in a dog. This is not always the case, dogs who roll their eyes upwards with a lowered head, walking slowly with a tightly closed mouth are usually feeling worried. Dog’s aren’t usually understood when they are telling us that they are unhappy.
Alternatively, your dog might be staring hard, leaning forward, ears pricked sharply, with a very still, stiff body. This often means that your dog is highly stressed. He may be protecting something like his toy or bed. It is really important to try your best to recognise these signs, which are all perfectly normal dog behaviours, you don’t want your dog becoming more stressed and even resorting to snapping or biting. If you see your dog showing these behaviours, then don’t get into a confrontation, make sure you move away so he calms down and contact your Vet to ask for referral to a qualified behaviourist.

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