Be Kind to Animals
Benefits of Pet Ownership
One of the positive results of staying home during the coronavirus pandemic is the enjoyment we get from spending extra time with our pets.
Beyond enjoyment, research has shown that pet ownership has a number of physical and mental health benefits. As researched by the RSPCA, these include:
- Increased cardiovascular health (lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, and in men, lower cholesterol)
- Increased physical activity. Dogs especially help us get out and enjoy the outdoors while getting some regular exercise. They are great motivators and personal trainers, never wanting to miss a training session, no matter the weather
- Pet owners report less depression and appear to cope with grief, stress and loss better than non-pet owners
- Pets enhance social connectedness and social skills and are great conversation starters!
Source: RSPCA. Find out more here.
Keeping Pets Occupied
The restrictions on activity that have resulted from COVID-19 have impacted on all of our routines – including our pets. Here are some tips on games you can play with your dog or cat to keep them occupied.
Search Games Hiding some treats and toys around the house will create something like a scavenger hunt for your dog. He can use his senses to find these rewards. Just make sure you only hide small amounts of tasty food, not too much.
Shell game Place three plastic cups upside-down on the floor and hide a treat under one of the cups. Move the cups around while your dog watches the movements. Then see if she can find the cup with her reward.
Frozen treats are another source of fun and entertainment. You just need to put some food or a treat in an ice-cream container, fill it with water and freeze it. Your pet will have lots of fun waiting for the ice to melt and revealing the delicious surprise to be enjoyed.
Chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs and chews such as Kongs can keep your dog busy for hours as well as helping to maintain good dog dental hygiene.
Teach basic commands Does he already know the important commands like "sit", "stay", "come"? Now is the time to put in some hours of reward-based training. You can try it with clicker training: More here!
Teach names Give toys names and ask your dog to fetch "teddy", "ball", or "dolly" and put them in a box.
Tidying up Much to the delight of your children, train your dog to put away his toys, preferably in a box.
Agility Use your do-it-yourself talents to build agility courses for your feline friends. There are lots of suggestions on the internet for courses that lead up the wall to the ceiling and back down again.
Fishing games Turn some string into a kind of fishing rod. Fix a shuttlecock at the end of it and then swing it through the room. Your cat will love chasing it!
Clicker training You can teach your cat a lot with clicker training. Try teaching him a few tricks like "come" and "high five". More here!
Ball games Throwing a bouncy ball against the wall will keep your cat busy for hours trying to catch it.
Torch game use a torch to make a light spot dart around the room and let your cat indulge her passion for ‘hunting’ it.
Source: Four Paws International. Read more here.