Many individuals and families nationwide are choosing to exercise social distancing–and to self-quarantine at home–while the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. With the very real possibility of mandated self-quarantine, it’s possible that we may all end up spending a lot of time indoors with our dogs.
If you have a private yard and plenty of space for your dog to get outside and exercise, you should be in pretty good shape. But if you live in an apartment complex or in an area where you can’t go outside, your dog is probably going to get a little stir-crazy before this is all over.
Many vets are encouraging people who have not tested positive for COVID-19 to continue interacting normally with their pets. Still, you should absolutely limit your pet’s exposure to other people and animals, you shouldn’t have to change your usual interactions.
While you’re shut-in with your dog more than normal, it’s important to keep them entertained and exercised as much as you can. Dogs who are restless and bored are more likely to exibit nervous and destructive behaviors–and they may even attempt to escape from home.
We’ve gathered a few examples of fun indoor activities to keep your dog occupied while you shelter-in-place.
Before we dive in…
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, then it’s important to limit your exposure to your pet as much as possible. If you have other individuals in your home who can help take care of your pet while you recover, share this list of ideas with them.
Of course, if you live alone with your pet, you won’t be able to limit your exposure. In that case, take it easy while you recover–and give these activities a try as you feel able.
1. Chew toys and bones
Puppies and dogs love to chew, and it’s a great way to help them expend some energy during the day. Purchase a heavy-duty toy or two that your pup can’t destroy, and encourage them to have a little chew time every day. Providing safe chew toys should help deter your dog from chewing on furnutire and shoes.
2. Give extra attention and cuddles
If you’re healthy, you should continue showing your dog affection, including giving plenty of pets and cuddles. Research shows that just 10 minutes of petting your dog can help reduce stress and anxiety–a valuable benefit, especially these days. (But try to avoid letting your pup lick your face, just to be on the safe side.)
3. Treat hide-and-seek
Playing hide-and-seek with your dog’s treats can be a fun, tasty diversion during a long day at home. You can opt to hide treats around the house or put a treat inside a toy for your dog to retrieve. Toys you can stuff with treats, like KONG or similar dog toys, can help keep your pup occupied for quite a while.
4. Learn some new tricks
While you’re hanging out at home with your dog, it’s a great opportunity to learn some new tricks. Use a clicker or small treats as rewards when your pup follows your instructions. Shoot videos of your dog’s new achievements and share them with your friends via social media to give them (and yourself) a much-needed pick-me-up.
5. Play hallway fetch
If you have a long hallway in your house, take advantage of it. Halls are great for playing fetch with a tennis ball!
6. Tug on a rope
Knotted tug-ropes are great for helping your dog expend some energy. And as long as you’re feeling well, they’ll help you get your body moving, too.
7. Walk the stairs
Do you have a staircase in your home? If your dog is comfortable walking up and down the stairs, this is a great opportunity for them to get some great cardio.
8. Bathtub ball
Many small dogs enjoy a good challenge. For example, I grew up with a Jack Russell Terrior who loved to run a tennis ball around our bathtub. (This works best in a large tub, but it’s also possible in a standard-size tub, too. Maggie even managed to do this in a walk-in shower.) If you have a small, energetic dog who likes to chase a small ball, letting them run it around the inside of the bathtub might give you a good laugh–and tire your dog out, too.
If you’re spending a lot of time at home like we are, best of luck! We hope we’ve given you plenty of great ideas for keeping boredom at bay. And, we wish you health and safety during this uncertain time.
Bored pups are at higher risk of escaping from the house. If your pup does manage to take off during self-quarantine, it’s important to locate them and bring them home as soon as you can. Lightweight, affordable Huan Smart Tags alert you the moment your escape artist is detected away from home or away from you.
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