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The new normal for dogs?

Hannah Aldridge,

Dog Health , +2

May 13, 2020

Working From Home

In recent months, the world we live in has seen us face some major challenges as we fight a war like no other. Whatever your situation, the impact of the Coronavirus has meant that thousands of dogs up and down the UK have had their world turned upside down.

In recent times, many of us have been working from home and our dogs have become our office colleagues. That means our four-legged friends have had to change their ways too…

For most of our dogs lives we have been leaving them on their own for around 8 hours a day whilst we, their owners, go to work. Overnight we are now at home day and night! Surely this can’t be a bad thing, right?

Working from home with your dog

Dog on video call

Spending pretty much all our time at home has seen our bond with our canine companions grow even stronger. From having cuddles whilst you write your monthly report, to having four paws and a nose join you on a Zoom or Microsoft Teams call, working from home with a dog hasn’t been that bad.

However, our dogs have missed out on their usual socialisation, as the once highly active working dog, has also had to experience lockdown and social distancing restrictions. From no longer meeting other dogs on their walks, to training classes being cancelled, many dogs have missed out on canine interaction. As such we’ve found new ways to work their noses and entertain their minds.

Learn more here…

Returning to work and school

Over the coming weeks and months, the UK Government plans to gradually relax lockdown, which will see the reopening of schools and businesses. Consequently, our dogs will have to adapt their way of life once more.  

Can you imagine having company 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for several months and then, all of a sudden, being left alone for 8 hours every day!?

For the last few months your dog has probably had the run of the house throughout the day, but once more will be kennelled or crated and left on their own for several hours at a time. This will come as a shock to many.

Separation anxiety is something that many dog owners would have heard of. As we face ‘the new normal’ many owners now worry our reliable companion will cope as their world changes again. As such, we recommend that you begin the transition now.

Here are our top tips:

  • As our daily exercise allowance becomes unrestricted, it would be worth going for a bike ride or a walk without your four-legged companion. Leave your dog in the same way that you would when you return to work.  
  • Gradually build up the time that you leave your dog.
  • Exercise your dog before leaving them.
  • Move your lunchtime walk back to the time that they are usually walked when you are at work.
  • Invest in a Furbo or similar device– this will enable you to can see what your dog is doing when left. You can even reward them through speaking to them or delivering treats remotely.

Diet

You might have found that since the social distancing measures have been in place, you have had to either decrease or increase your dog’s food to accommodate either reduced or increased activity levels.  Be flexible as you return to a more regular routine and continue to measure the amount of food fed, monitor their bodyweight and manage their diet and exercise accordingly.  If you are leaving your dog at home, help them adapt by using some of their daily diet in treat or puzzle feeders that can keep your dog occupied even when alone.

Dr Jacqueline Boyd, Head of Nutrition

The new normal…

As it stands, the true impact of COVID-19 is still yet to be seen, however, what is clear to see that as lockdown relaxes, the world we share with our dogs has changed. For the last few months our dogs have kept our spirits high even in the darkest of moments and together we will adapt, change and evolve.

evening exercise for working dog

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