Does your pet have the lockdown blues?

by Handymag

Ryedale Vet’s Will Sennitt, talks about how they can help.

We can all agree that the past few months have been a little strange for everyone. From standing on our doorsteps clapping to standing on painted lines outside shops; from staying at home to staying two metres apart and from struggling to buy our daily essentials to the never-ending struggle that is home schooling!

It has not only been a confusing time for us, our pets have also had to quickly adapt to new routines. Our Cocker Spaniel, Bert seemed to love the idea that one of us would be at home all day initially. Though the novelty soon wore off when his normal post-breakfast snooze became frequently interrupted with client calls and video consultations. His conspicuously loud sighs gave him away. Only being able to go out for one walk per day in the same local spaces also seemed to have an interesting effect on him. He would be particularly sprightly when he got chance to go out and developed the frustrating habit of chewing sticks. The more we tried to relieve him of his precious stick, the more entertaining he found it – especially if we resorted to a tasty bribe at the end of it all!

Changes in our pet’s behaviour during the Coronavirus lockdown are common for us to hear at Ryedale Vets. Many clients have described their pets as being more mischievous, naughty or even destructive. The root cause of these behaviours can often be boredom or anxiety – something many of us can relate to in these uncertain times, although we would always try to rule out medical causes first.

One of the main things we can do to combat boredom in our pets is to stimulate them with play. For Bert, we would spend time playing in the garden when we couldn’t walk as far. Some days this involved playing ‘hide and seek’ with bits of fruit or carrot and others we simply played fetch with his favourite ball. We even decided to try and teach him a few tricks! Not all of them stuck but working out what we wanted got his braincells whirring away nicely. These simple activities only took up 20 – 30 minutes of our day but were enough to wear him out mentally and physically. I have to say we were pretty exhausted by the end of it as well.

Thankfully, our efforts paid off. He soon realised finding and chewing sticks was not part of an elaborate new game he’d invented for us all. Simply walking was enough and he could wear us out playing in the garden instead!

If you would like to talk to one of our professionals about your pet’s behaviour, contact us on the numbers below.

Station Road, Helmsley YO62 5BZ
Tel: 01439 771166

133 Eastgate, Pickering, YO18 7DW
Tel: 01751 472204

4 Howe End, Kirbymoorside,York YO62 6BD
Tel: 01751 472204

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