Your dog needs love, fun and exercise even during lockdown. And hear how Emerald is helping its pet customers in these unprecedented times.
Dog owners all know how much fun dogs are – they are great pets, exercise partners and friends.
Is there an upside to lockdown?
One advantage of the lockdown is that you will likely spend more time with your pet. Dogs love playing with their owners. While often that is done outside, walking opportunities may be limited and likely need to be on the lead (the dog not you!).
So if you have a garden, having a run around there or a pull-rope can be fun, as well as good exercise for you. However, some dogs, particularly larger ones, may get restless with just one walk a day.
This can be a perfect time for training them something new (or training them out of something old!). There are plenty of dog training videos on social media – we have listed a couple here we like. Also, spend some time watching your dog. You may find that there are things that they like doing or times they like to settle during the day or when they are more lively. If it works, try and synch with those.
Remember that with less exercise, dogs may start to put on weight, so do consider cutting their meals a little. If you feed your dog dried food, perhaps try holding back a little of that and using it as a reward for training.
So, in the lockdown, we can all still walk our dogs, but what if you don’t have a garden? Clearly, once a day outside with a dog won’t work for their toilet needs. You will need to attend to this and should try to be as efficient as possible. But dogs can also get tired after intellectual stimulation as well as physical exercise.
We don’t mean that you read them Proust, but you could try hiding treats around you flat and getting them to ‘go find’. You can also order dog games online, for example feeders where you have to do actions in a certain order to get a treat, like move cogs etc. This will work better for some dogs that others, so start simple before you spend a lot of cash on a device that is too advanced for your dog.
Or just go simple – use an empty (plastic!) big water or fizzy drink bottle and push a bigger treat into it. Dogs will love playing with that and chewing it for hours trying to get the treat out.
And what are the downsides for you and your dog?
One issue that has come up is the need to take your dog to the vets for their regular check-ups, vaccinations and the like. Pet insurance requires that customers make sure that all vaccinations are up to date, and historically (pre-corona) will take no responsibility for illnesses that arise through non-vaccination. The same applies to annual check-ups.
Here at Emerald, we’ve worked hard with our underwriters to provide additional support to our customers and their pets. Many vet practices are closed or only accepting emergencies, so should your dog fall ill with a condition that would otherwise have been vaccinated against, then we will look to cover the vet’s costs in that case. New pet owners are advised to keep pets inside until they have had a full vaccination course.
If customers have started a claim that has a time limit but are unable to visit a vet due to the vets being closed or the customer has to self-isolate, the time limit will be extended to allow for the treatment to be completed at a later date after the lockdown period has ended or the policyholders are no longer having to isolate.
And then there’s the big question which has come up increasingly regularly in these strange days. What if you are too ill to take your dog for a walk, or are otherwise shielded? Fortunately, there are charity and community support options that may be available. Age UK is running a scheme where professional dog walkers who are now not working are volunteering to walk dogs for elderly people who are unable to leave the house for whatever reason. There is also a charity called The Underdog which was set up originally to work on rehoming dogs but has now pivoted into recruiting dog walkers who are trained and checked before being able to look after the dogs of those who cannot leave the house.
To sum up, there are a lot of options for dog-owners as we currently sit through a long period of lockdown. The good thing is that your dog loves you – so giving them lots of praise and attention will help them but will also make you feel better. And remember, there are times when all dogs are naughty. We are all cooped up at the moment so if that does happen with your dog, the answer is ten deep breaths!
Lastly, remember to check that your pet insurer is prepared to be flexible until ‘normal’ life resumes. Make sure your pets are safe and happy – and we are here to help.
Emerald Pet offers four levels of pet cover with plenty of options so that you can get the cover you need. With prices starting from just £2.59 a week, you can get a quote online in minutes! Go to www.emeraldlife.co.uk/pet-insurance for more details.