I don’t know about you, but being in isolation has made me realise just how much my furry friends love me (and just how much I need my furry friends!) In light of the devastating fallout of COVID-19, it sadly rings true for many of us that we have not spent this much time at home in a long time - voluntarily or otherwise. The average full timer has approximately 2 - 4 weeks of leave per year, which is very rarely taken all at once. Come Christmas and New Year (or those sacred and rare 10 days off between Easter and Anzac Day using only 3 leave days!), most of us are holding out for extended family time. Looking out for ourselves and loved ones during this strange and difficult time at home can feel like a distant memory, but I’m confident that at least one furry member of the family is delighted to have us home much longer than usual. Used to sitting at home and waiting for our return (because that means snacks!), the fact that we’re around much more is sure to excite our furry friends. So whether you’re working from home, or home schooling year 3 maths from the lounge room, check out our top 10 tips below to make sure you and your fur babies are benefiting from your new found freedom!
1. Teach them a new trick - They say you can’t teach an old dogs new tricks... Turns out, you can! Here are 5 tricks you can teach to your bestie whilst you’re both isolating together.
2. Make your own treats - In light of recent events, you might find pet treats hard to come by on the shelves of your local supermarkets - after all, you’re not the only one isolating with pets. Why not get baking and whip up some DIY yummies for your best friend. There’s a great video here with a bit of a tutorial!
3. Create an obstacle course - If you have space and can keep up the pace, why not create a mini adventure park from the comfort of your own back yard? Get together a couple spare tyres (local junkyards stock cheap oldies), some old piping, and tonnes of imagination and enjoy hours of endless fun with your playful pup.
4. Experiment with new toys - Keeping dogs entertained is a workout in itself, and with isolation thrown into the mix there’s only so many times you can throw a Frisbee! Keeping our pets stimulated mentally is just as important as giving their little legs a workout.
5. Or... Make your own! If you’d prefer to get crafty, why not make your own pet playthings. Gather up toilet paper rolls, old linen and some empty bottles for homemade fun that’s sure to outlast isolation.
6. Play dress ups // Pet photoshoot - It might just be me, but those pictures of cats in tutus and birds with little hats on make me so happy! Why not explore your local costume or bargain shop and put together cute outfits for your cuddly companion. Or you could go the extra mile and find matching outfits for the whole family! As we draw ever so closer to Christmas (sorry for the reminder), you could even stage some photos and make your own Christmas cards this year.
7. Exercise together - Whilst we’re unable to attend the gym, working out with our dog has proved to be the next best thing. Use them as weights, for resistance, and to increase cardio.
8. Explore a new walking trail - Depending on your location and the restrictions in place across your state, you may be interested to learn that you can still venture out and explore new walking paths! Check out this website to find a walking trail near you, and remember to comply with your state laws regarding social distancing and hand hygiene!
9. Plant some tummy loving plants for your felines - Cats love eating plants! Certain greenery helps regulate their digestion, keeps their teeth healthy, and is a downright tasty treat. Planting a collection of cat friendly seeds in the garden or around the house (out of their reach), is great for them and you, because you get to nurture beautiful little plants until they’re ready to be served up. Cat grass, cat mint, and even beansprouts are all fun ways to get your green thumbs out, get the little ones learning about gardening, and keep your feline friends happy.
10. Adopt a new friend One of the downsides to isolation is definitely those creeping feelings of loneliness. Did you know animal adoption is on the rise since lockdown began? If getting a pet is seriously up there on your to do list, consider if you’re ready to take in a new family member with our helpful guide and then head down to your local adoption agency! Remember, a pet is for life, so we ask that you do give our checklist some serious thought before heading down to your local shelter.
It may be a time of stress and uncertainty for many of us right now, and we’re in this together. We have to remember our pets are just as important as our human counterparts, and taking their anxieties into account during lockdown is imperative to maintain mental health on all parts, as well as strengthen the bond between you and your fluffy four-legged friend.