Internet searches for “dog exercise” spiked by 809 per cent when lockdown was announced and soared again when the restrictions were extended.
Almost a third of people in the UK own a dog, and it can be difficult to keep pets entertained and healthy during lockdown.
Pet food brand, Webbox, has some ideas on how you can keep your dog fit and healthy if you can’t leave your home.
Set up an improvised obstacle course
Setting up an outdoor or indoor obstacle course for your dog is a great way to get them active and stimulate their mind.
Use objects such as broomsticks to make jumps and blankets over chairs to make a tunnel. Make a mini tyre jump by securing a hula hoop in between two chairs. You could also make a weave obstacle by placing shoes or boots on the floor.
Before diving straight in, teach your dog each element of the obstacle course using healthy treats to guide them. Gradually remove the treats but use the same hand gestures to get your dog to perform the obstacle course on their own.
Work for treats
Take a variety of healthy dog treats and hide them around the house, making some easy to find and some more challenging.
Dogs will not only tire themselves out by looking for the treats, but it will also provide them with mental stimulation.
Treat dispensing toys are a great way to get your dog to be more active and keep their mind occupied. Puzzle bowls are also an effective method to get your dog’s mind going whilst encouraging slower eating, which is good for a dog’s digestive system.
Tug of war
This activity is a great way to get your dog active and a chance to play with them.
Before engaging in a healthy game of tug of war, it’s important to note that it will bring out the predator in your dog and should only be played if you understand their power and instincts.
A classic game of fetch can be played both indoors and outdoors.
Playing fetch is a really great way to connect with your dog and get its mind and muscles working, as it is a chance for them to use their natural hunting instincts.
Take your pooch along with you for your daily exercise
If you are practicing social distancing and able to enjoy your daily exercise, make sure to take your dog along whilst sticking to Government guidelines. Walking your dog is a great way to give them exercise.
Camille Ashforth, senior brand manager at Webbox, said: “This is also a strange time for your dogs, and they may be just as confused and disrupted from their daily routine as you are.
“Making sure your dog has enough exercise is important to ensure they don’t become bored and start misbehaving.
“We hope these tips have given you some inspiration on how you too can keep your dog both physically and mentally active during this time. If you’re unsure about any of the above exercises, seek expert advice from a vet or behaviourist.”