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How do you keep pets happy and healthy in lockdown?

Since social distancing rules came in, it’s been tricky for some dog owners to make sure their pooches get enough exercise.

At Platinum Skies we welcome pets, because we know how much joy and wellbeing benefits they bring to our vibrant communities. Many of our homeowners enjoy exercising their furry friends at the beautiful natural surroundings of our retirement living locations.

Thankfully for our animal companions, there are some great ways to keep them in tip top shape.

My dog is used to two walks a day. What do I do?

For people who for any reason can’t exercise their dog, or whose dog is used to being walked two or more times a day, there are a number of ways dogs can be stimulated inside the home or garden.

These could include dividing meals so that your dog is fed smaller, but more frequent, portions. Another tip is to scatter their food so that they have to use their brain to find the food and, of course, it takes them longer.

I have two (or more) dogs, can I take each of them for a separate walk?

The latest Government lockdown guidance is that you can leave your house to exercise more than once a day and you could combine this with dog walking.

Im self-isolating, how can I make sure my dog gets walked?

If your dog cannot exercise at home, you should ask someone outside of your household to walk your dog for you.

Members of the public may leave the house to provide care or help a vulnerable person. This includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self-isolating or being shielded.

They should remember to wash their hands before and after handling the dog and keep two metres away from other people and animals, including when handing over the dog to the owner.

What if my pet needs medical attention?

Veterinary practices are not on the list of businesses and premises that need to close and, as such, may open where necessary.

However, all non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you may take them, but must remember to wash your hands and remain two metres away from anyone outside your household.

You must call the vet before going to see them.

What about training my dog?

It’s going to be a good time to do some training with your dog, but owners should remember to be patient. You know what you want them to do, but they will take time to understand it.

Also, use only positive reward-based methods, i.e. lots of praise when they get it right and a treat or their favourite toy.

I’m a cat owner, is there any specific advice for me?

The Government says you should wash your hands before and after any contact with your cat.

Can pets pass Covid-19 on to humans?

The Government says there is no evidence of coronavirus circulating in pets or other animals in the UK, and there is nothing to suggest animals may transmit the disease to humans.

In line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.

I have a horse, is there any specific advice for me?

You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with leaving your house to provide care for your horse or livestock.

It is essential that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain two metres away from others. You should remember to wash your hands before and after contact with any animals.

If you have a horse in livery, you must not visit them whilst you are self-isolating. You should contact your yard manager or vet to make suitable welfare arrangements.

My horse needs urgent attention from a farrier, what do I do?

If your horse requires urgent attention from a farrier, you should phone the farrier to arrange the best approach to meet your horse’s needs.

You and the farrier must ensure that you keep two metres apart and wash your hands before and after contact with the horse.

I am self-isolating, what do I do about my livestock?

If you have livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs or poultry, you should arrange for someone else who is not self-isolating to care for your animals.

Where this is not possible you should ensure the basic needs of your animals are met.

You must make sure you wash your hands before and after handling your animals and ensure you remain two metres away from other people.

If you are too unwell to care for your animals and there is no one to help, you should call the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or your local authority.

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