As lockdown begins to ease and our lives begin to return to normal, we thought we’d share some tips to help keep you and your pets safe during this period of transition.
We have all had our normal lives and routines disrupted and the COVID-19 pandemic has not left our pets unaffected. Our wonderful companions have been enjoying the additional fuss and attention of us being with them all the time, but as lockdown begins to ease they may struggle to adjust to their new life with a lot less you! One of the best ways to help your four-legged friends through the transition is to try to phase back into your old normal routine and prepare your pet for when you have to eventually leave home.
Dogs, in particular, are social pack animals and they love having us around, so you suddenly leaving home could be quite stressful for them, and they may develop separation anxiety as we go back to our old routines. Preparing them for being left alone is about helping them understand that it isn’t scary and you will come back!
Here are a few other ways you can hep your dog stay stress free:
- Make sure to leave your pet unattended for a while and get them used to you not being around. Start with a couple of minutes and gradually increase the time you stay away.
- As other pet services begin to open there may be a waiting list, so book your appointments early before your return to the new normal.
- Check your pet’s microchip, vaccines and flea and worming treatment are up to date, it will ease your stress and protect your dog from dealing with pesky enemies such as fleas and lungworm. If your pet's vaccines have lapsed, we'd recommend getting an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
- Ask your neighbours or friends to help you take care of your dog while you are at work.
Cats may be very independent animals, but they can easily become stressed when their daily routine or diet changes. Although separation anxiety is rare in cats there have been many recently reported cases of cystitis and blocked bladder that are stress induced.
- Try to avoid huge changes and stick to your routine as much as possible.
- Avoid letting other cats in the premises or garden as other cats invading their territory is very stress-inducing.
- Keeping your cat on a good quality premium diet can help to provide the optimal balance of vitamins and minerals. Don’t overfeed.
- Calming products such as Feliway plug-ins can be very effective in preventing your cats from being stressed
- Protective supplements such as Cystaid, Cystophan and Cystease may reduce the tendency for cats to develop urinary issues if they are prone to this
Flea and Worming Treatment
Over the last few months, it has been harder to keep track of time, and our pet’s flea and worming treatment is easily forgotten. Preventative care is extremely important to maintain at this time of year, as the warmer weather provides an ideal breeding ground for fleas. Unfortunately, vets have reported many flea related illnesses and over-grooming that may result in your cat becoming stressed. Lungworm is another dangerous, or fatal if not treated, parasite that it is essential to treat your pets for. London alone has a serious Lungworm problem with over 50% of foxes infected.
We'd recommend using products only prescribed by your vet. Thankfully there are plenty of products that protect your pets and your home from fleas! We stock a wide range of treatments to suit all pets.
Arthritis is a very common disorder and there is much that we can do at this time to ensure we keep our pets mobile and happy. Now that we are all spending more time indoors, it’s easy to treat yourself and gain a few extra pounds… and the same goes for our pets.
- Care with the diet. It is all too easy to gain a few pounds with extra treats at this time but please be careful not to let your pet gain weight. Avoiding obesity for an arthritic pet is very important to reduce the weight on the joints. A good quality diet is important. There are also special joint diets available and even joint diets for overweight pets, so ask your vet for advice on these.
- Exercising our pets is essential for their well-being, but please be careful not to over-exercise. Now that the lockdown eases and we are allowed to go out more than once, we would recommend taking multiple short walks instead of one long walk.
- There are many non-medical treatments that can help arthritic pets. Gentle massage, grooming, keeping your pet warm and comfortable at home, avoiding slippery floors are some helpful tips that will make your dog’s life easier and happier. An orthopaedic foam bed will help distribute weight evenly, putting less pressure on the joints.
- Follow your pet’s medication guidelines as instructed by your vet. There are many joint supplements such as Yumove and Seraquin that can help to keep your pet mobile and happy. These can often help to keep your pet comfortable at home with a nice comfortable bed or two and avoid slippery floors.
Grass seeds can be a big problem for your pet. To ensure these pesky seeds will not get a hold of your precious pet, visit your groomer when you can and get a short trim around the ears and paws as these are the most common places grass seeds can attach to. Certain breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and other dogs with long fur are more likely to get grass seeds, however all dogs are at risk.
Remember to keep their fur short and check their ears and paws regularly. Grass seeds can be very annoying for your pet so if you notice your dog shaking their head call your vet as soon as possible.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, there has been a huge increase in puppies being adopted across the UK. As the lockdown restrictions begin to ease, many new parents are wondering how to keep their pet’s stress to a minimum and make them feel confident and sociable.
- Introduce periods of time alone to habituate your puppy to being left alone. Initially, leave with plenty of toys and a food-filled chew. Stock up on chews and toys.
- Ensure your vaccines and preventative care are up to date. We can provide puppy vaccinations now as well as flea and worming treatment, including lungworm. Kennel cough is a good idea and is recommended for most puppies too.
- Get your daycare arranged – when possible, arrange for doggie daycare or friends and family to check on your pet. Let them spend some time there in advance to get used to it.
- Unfortunately, many puppy classes are on hold at the moment, however many dog trainers continue to provide training advice online or even offer training classes via video. We like this book for puppy training - Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy: your simple guide to raising and training a happy puppy- by Steve Mann.
- Regularly treating your puppies for fleas and worms will ensure a healthy and stress-free puppy. Please only use products recommended by your vet and order online as it will save you money and time.
Take Care With Short Nose (Brachycephalic) Breeds
The French bulldog, English bulldog, pug, boxer and Boston terrier are all examples of brachycephalic breeds. The most distinctive feature of these breeds is their short muzzle. Unfortunately, these breeds are prone to skin and eye problems and respiratory issues. So it is important to be very careful when exercising them as they have a difficulty in oxygenating themselves properly and may struggle to breathe.
It is recommended to take them for a walk early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it is cooler – multiple short walks are preferred than one long walk – because they struggle with heat as they cannot easily cool down.