BY DR NICKY THOMAS, WYNNUM MANLY VETERINARY HOSPITAL
Dogs are social and inquisitive animals. Many people will have discovered the perils of leaving a dog to keep themselves amused – holes dug in gardens, furniture and belongings chewed and escape routes planned!
The arrival of COVID in our lives over the last two years has resulted in a lot of dogs having much more company at home than they would previously. As conditions change and we shift back to working away from the home our dogs are often left to their own devices again. Here are some tips to help your dog use their energy in positive ways!
Find a time in your day to exercise your dog – whether it be a long walk by the bay, a short session of fetch in the backyard or a trip to the dog park to catch up with some furry friends, taking some time to get your dog to burn off some energy will generally result in them being calmer.
Make your backyard an exciting place for your dog to be. Providing a sandpit (a plastic “clam shell” swimming pool filled with sand) and burying toys and treats can keep a dog amused for ages! Snuffle mats can be used to hide treats – like a miniature hide and seek for your pet to explore. In the hot summer months a treat such as a small piece of meat frozen in the centre of a block of ice will keep a food motivated dog entertained.
Re-think feeding time
Dogs don’t necessarily need to eat from a bowl. Providing a meal in a different vessel such as a Kong, a treat ball or a puzzle bowl can help turn a meal into a more stimulating experience as dogs have to work for their food. Scatter feeding is an easy way to stretch out a meal – a handful of their usual dry biscuits spread out over the grass will keep them occupied for longer.
There are a number of doggy daycare providers in the local area – lucky dogs get to spend the day playing with other like-minded pooches.