How to keep your pet happy and healthy at home if you're affected by the Coronavirus
5 January 2022 - 4 min read
As we battle wave after wave of coronavirus, many pet owners' normal routines continue to be uprooted. You might be working from home with your pet or find your self at home ill or having to self-isolate because a contact has tested positive.
Don’t worry - there are plenty of fun games and activities to help keep your cat or dog stimulated and active while you're at home.
ManyPets' vet nurse Sarah James says you can add a bit of fun to simplest of pet activities - giving them their food or treats.
Rather than use a bowl to feed your pet you can hide kibble in a snuffle mat. There are a few variants but it's often a tasselled mat where a dog has to sniff out and dig around to get their food or treats that are hidden by the tassels.
It's far more challenging and invigorating than letting them wolf down their food. They have to use their nose to find the food and then pick it out with their paws and mouth. And it's possible to make your own at home.
Make a fun food puzzle
If you don't have the materials to make a snuffle mat there are plenty of other ways you can keep pets entertained with makeshift food puzzles. All you need is a muffin tin (or a similar container) and tennis balls.
Pop a treat in each hole of the muffin tin, place a tennis ball on top and put it on the floor for your cat or dog to work out how to get to the treat. They'll need to nudge the balls out of the holes to get the snack. Here's Golden Retriever Cleo enjoying this fun game!
Put on a podcast for dogs
Have a look at My Dog's Favourite Podcast on Spotify which features a range of carefully selected spoken word, sound and original music designed to helps dogs relax when they're left alone. It might be useful if you ever need to keep your dog in another room while you're on an important work call.
Try teaching your dog a new trick or reinforcing commands they already know.
When you get back out in the world you'll be able to show off how your dog can roll over and play dead.
Keep your training sessions fun, positive and short. Aim for no more than 15 minutes, but they can be a few times a day.
How to keep cats stimulated at home
Outdoor cats might begin to feel under-stimulated if isolated at home.
Make a toilet roll treat dispenser
Fill an empty toilet roll with dry food and push the ends of the roll in so that they form a seal. Then cut small kibble sized holes on the outside of the toilet roll. Your cat will need to roll the toilet roll around to get the food out.
Make a box for your cat to hide in
You'll need all an old t-shirt, a cardboard box and a blanket or cushion and some safety pins.
Cut off the top flaps of the cardboard box then put a blanket or cushion in the bottom of the box to make it cosy for your cat.
Pull the t-shirt over the box and tuck the sleeves in against the box.
Tight the t-shirt in the back or use a few large safety pins to keep the back tidy.
It is no secret that cats love empty boxes, so if you have an unused, clean box, leave it in your feline friend's favourite place.
ManyPets' vet expert Dr Sophie Bell, owner of Animal Love Care, has recorded a series of videos to explain whether pets can carry coronavirus and how to do some basic medical checks on your pet at home.
Can pets get and transfer Covid-19?
How Covid-19 is affecting vets and what to do for routine treatments and if your pet is unwell