June 30, 2020 6 min read 0 Comments

Our dogs need plenty of regular exercise and outdoor fun! With the dynamic shift of schedules, routines may have changed with less off –leash and exercise time. On the other hand, some of us may be exercising more outdoors, and enjoying longer walks or jogs with our furry best friends. Either way, change in general may be challenging for your pooch, causing behavior issues. In this article, we’ll discuss how to maintain a normal schedule post COVID-19, and how to give your pets their much needed “quiet” time in their designated favorite spot.

According to  TUFTS NOW, pet stress has increased during COVID-19, bringing on behavior problems. From a change of routine, to children being at home 24/7 now that schools are closed, it’s important to note that dogs may be feeling our stress as well. Being at home with your furry best friends may be challenging, bringing on behavior problems via these new environmental changes. So what can we do?


Get outside & exercise

Depending on where you live, you may be able to visit your local dog park for off-leash fun. In fact, not only is off-leash exercise important for your furry best friend, it’s encouraged by veterinary behaviorists. Now that most lockdowns are easing up in certain locations, dog parks and beaches are open. Dogs need to socialize and play with other dogs and people. You can also enjoy a daily brisk walk or jog to get plenty of fresh air, and add in some much needed exercise.


Going back to work with Fido

If you’re considering bringing your dog back to work with the ease of restrictions, walking breaks with Fido increase productivity, all the while reducing the amount of time away from your furry best friend. Unfortunately, some dogs may be anxious going back to the work environment after the lockdown. If your dog exhibits stress or behavioral issues, consult with your vet, and discuss whichCBD pet products may be best for your dog to promote calmness.


Build a mini agility course in your backyard

Try it out at least once! You’ll enjoy this! You can build your own agility course in your backyard or even inside your home if it’s too hot outdoors. You’ll need to take into consideration your dog’s size, breed, and age, as well as any health issues before building your course. You’ll need weave poles, jumps, tunnels, and space to lay everything out.  What’s great about this is that you don’t need a lot of money or time for this, and the entire family can take part.

Keep in mind that safety comes first, and that you can find agility starter kits online. You can also use play tunnels that are open on both ends from a toy store. Agility for dogs is a great way to keep your furry best friend mentally and physically stimulated while having lots of family fun time! That said, keep a pack of your dog’s favoritetreats nearby to reward!


Take your dog swimming

Now that summer’s here, there’s no better time to enjoy swimming with your dog or going out boating. If your dog is new to swimming or boating, he may be nervous around the water. Just like humans, it may take a while to get him confident. Making sure that your dog has a top notchlifejacket on at all times is important in case your dog gets cramps while swimming, or gets disoriented in the water most especially if you’re out swimming in a lake or in the ocean. Doggie lifejackets need to be a good fit, and made from a durable fabric with a reflective trim for enhanced visibility in case you’re out during dawn or dusk.


a white dog laynig n his dog bed next to a grey couch

Give your dog a space of his own

Allow for “quiet” time! A dog’s safe space or zone is a special area where your dog can relax, self-soothe, and sleep. It’s almost an extended crate area, but because he’s no longer a puppy, he’s free to come and go as he pleases. In addition, any spare space in your home or apartment that’s safe can be made into a doggy zone. In fact, most dogs prefer smaller spaces and nooks. 

All dogs need a designated spot where they can hang out in their favorite  dog beds and have some down time. A comfortable dog bed with a blanket and pillow should be part of your dog space or dog room. Dogs spend 50% of their time sleeping, so having a good dog bed with a blanket is important.

Orthopedic dog beds offer optimalmusculoskeletal support and comfort to dogs with joint pain, post-operative pain, and also offers all active dogs a good night’s rest. A supportive dog bed will make all the difference in keeping your furry best friend comfortable throughout the day.


A good dog bed will offer the following benefits for dogs: 

  • Orthopedic support
  • Joint and mobility support
  • Allows dogs to have their own space to relax and curl up
  • Provides hours of comfortable sleep
  • Decreases stress and anxiety in pets

Achieve new fitness goals

We love our dogs, and nothing could be better than exercising together. Post COVID-19 exercise schedules have allowed us to spend plenty of one-on-one time with our dogs. Since we all want to be healthy and fit, why not spend  COVID-19 pandemic time setting up new fitness goals for the entire family. Dogs walks and vigorous runs on soft surfaces allow for the following:

  • Cardiovascular benefits in both pet and people
  • Strengthens muscles and bones
  • Decreases boredom, anxiety and depression in both dogs and humans
  • Decreases inappropriate elimination in the home
  • Helps to socialize dogs
  • Reinforces positive dog training cues


Organize doggie playdates

You will also need to schedule regular playdates with some of your dog’s best buddies, so that you can maintain these important canine friendships. Just like children, dogs enjoy hanging out with their best friends. Meet up at the dog park or dog beach, or even organize a mini agility course at home. Additionally, there are multiple ways to use outdoor spaces for picnics with pet parents and their pooches. Socialization for both pets and their pet parents help in the following ways:

  • Decrease depression in pets and people
  • Encourage mental stimulation & physical enrichment
  • Relaxes everyone & promotes calmness
  • Improves your dog’s health
  • Provides a happy bonding playtime for pets and their owners
  • Reduces behavioral problems

Maintaining a regular schedule with Fido

Helping your furry best friend adjust to life post COVID-19 involves making sure he’s not more stressed because of a change in schedule. Being at home more than usual upends schedules. According toDr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, V07, head of the behavior service Cummings Veterinary Medical Center“Pets” world just suddenly turned upside down,”, “And while individual dogs and cats may vary in their reactions, change in general is very challenging for most animals,” via Tufts Now.

She explains that “Though our pets may enjoy getting to spend more time with us, the dramatic shift in their routines stresses many of them out. As a result, many people who may have dreamed of being home all day with their pets have realized that, in reality, it can be. . . challenging. Many pets are acting needier than usual. This may include constantly being underfoot, relentlessly nosing us to pet them, or barking incessantly to go outside.

Weil goes on to add that “A lot of it is because routines are upended, and pets have no idea how to function in the new world order,” she explained. “Some of it is due to opportunity—pets have us around all the time, so why not keep begging for their next meal or sitting at the door? And much of it is that pets are looking for our attention to relieve their own stress or anxiety, and they only have one or two ways of asking us for that.”

As you can see there are plenty of ways to enjoy the summer with your dogs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping yourdogs fit and healthy is key to helping with behavioral issues like stress and anxiety. All dogs enjoy play and exercising outdoors. Just keep in mind that social distancing is still important when out and about! As usual, follow up with the latest  CDC recommendations when traveling with your pets this summer.

Resources

https://vet.tufts.edu/

https://now.tufts.edu/articles/pet-stress-has-increased-during-covid-19-bringing-behavior-problems

https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/dog-adjust-life-after-covid-lockdown/


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Meet The Author

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun author of Post COVID Summer Fun Tips to reduce canine stress

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

Claudia Bensimoun
Claudia Bensimoun



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