Being in lockdown is something none of us have experienced before. We are all being told to stay indoors and attempt to work from home if possible. Our lives have changed drastically. Our daily routines have had to change and we are having to entertain ourselves from within our own homes. We need to make this experience as positive as we can for each member of our family – but what does lockdown mean for our pets? How can we keep our pets entertained and content throughout this lockdown period?

Taking your pet for regular walks or providing them with regular exercise opportunities is a good way to keep your pet entertained. Each person in your household can participate in one form of daily exercise so try to get your pet involved if possible. Getting into a daily routine which involves new, revised walk and feeding times for your pet will help both you as the owner and your pet. Remember, pets do not like change, so we should try to make these routine changes gradually. Regular exercise and a routine lifestyle can benefit our mental health whilst also ensuring we maintain a good quality of life for our pets.

Many of our furry friends love new toys too …avoiding noisy toys may be beneficial for you and your family’s sanity! Toys should be large enough so the animal will not choke and stable so they cannot be crushed.

Why not entertain yourself as well as your pet by making pet friendly baked goods? Online you can find lots of recipes to suit your pets’ tastebuds. Be sure not to add any artificial sweeteners as these could be toxic to your pet. Additionally, you should ensure that the recipe you choose is suitable for the species of your pet, as different species have different tolerances and substances that are toxic.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, let your pet out into it. Giving your pet the option to go out and explore an enclosed, safe area will give them some freedom to allow them to do as they please, helping them to relax.

You can use lockdown to spend quality time with your pet. Use the extra time you have together to build up your relationship and the trust you have in each other. You could teach your pet a new trick… sit, paw, lay down, roll over are a few ideas. Maybe even mix and match the tricks to form a short routine. If this becomes too simple, why not make an obstacle course. If you do so, ensure the obstacles are safe and will not injure your pet if they fall into them, and not too heavy so that if they fell onto your pet, they would cause injury.

Teaching your pet new tricks may involve positive reinforcement (giving treats) and baking for your pet will increase the calorie content in your pet’s diet, which will result in your pet putting on weight if not controlled. Ensure that the calories consumed equals the calories out (calories burned) to avoid this complication.

You can play games with your pets. You could play games of hide and seek with their favourite toys or treats. Try to use healthy treats for such games! Flashing lights and noises can be used to distract your pet keeping them occupied. Cats especially like these kinds of games as they can turn into mini hunts with your cat chasing the light or sound.

Our pets will be receiving a lot more attention. Being surrounded by people all the time may increase their stress levels and cause more stress-related problems to be seen. If your pet is seeking solitary time, please let them. Make sure there are rooms available in the house for your pet to freely move into, should they want to avoid attention, light or noise. Ensure cats have extra litter trays in rooms unoccupied by people to prevent stress-related urinary issues.

Together, we can ensure life in lockdown is as enjoyable as possible for both our pets and ourselves. Remember, throughout lockdown, we are always at the end of the phone should any emergency arise.