Off your Feet? – How to still care for your Dog
Doctor's orders are to rest until you are better! But how can you do this when you have to walk your dog every day?!
As a dog owner, it can feel like a highly impractical request. It's certainly a time when you have to think 'out of the box' and be creative in order to keep your dog happy and mentally stimulated whilst you get back on your feet.
This recently happened to myself. No strenuous activities or heavy lifting for 6 weeks after an operation. Help! This was going to feel like a lifetime for me! With worries of how I would provide enough exercise and stimulation to keep my Springer Spaniel happy, I got thinking about all the different types of wonderful doggie services and products which are available to dog owners and could help on the road to recovery.
Home Boarding and Kennels
It might not be for everyone, but booking your dog into kennels, can help to ease the worry of not being able to walk and exercise your dog. All your dog's needs will be cared for while you are at home taking it easy! If you don't normally put your dog into kennels or don't like the thought of this, then home boarding may be the better option for you. Speak to friends and family about recommendations or speak to your veterinary practice.
Hire a dog walker
If you'd rather not call on your friends and family to walk your dog, then you could hire a dog walker. Your dog walker will come and collect your dog and take them for a daily walk with other dogs, so that they are still receiving socialisation. If your dog prefers to walk without others, then single walks can be booked. An added benefit to booking a dog walker is that they will come and collect your dog from you and drop them off home again afterwards.
Book into doggie day care
Doggie day care is a good alternative to kennels, home boarding or hiring a dog walker. Your dog will spend the day making new doggie pals, playing with new toys including sand pits and ball pits, or even learning agility. You can book your dog into most doggie day care centres for half a day or a full day, depending on your needs. Some doggie day care centres have a pet taxi service too, where they will collect and return your dog, so this can be ideal whilst you are off your feet.
Nose work and brain games at home
Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and are never happier than when they are sniffing and locating something interesting. They also like to be challenged and to problem solve when there is the chance of a high value reward. We can make our dogs use their nose and brain power a whole lot more by introducing fun and interactive games to their day. Nose work and brain games keep your dog mentally challenged and exercised. They also encourage concentration. They allow you to stimulate your dog without over-exciting them or over-exerting yourself, whilst you are on the road to recovery.
Here are some games to play with your dog:
- Scattering your dog's food around the garden.
- Interactive food toys such as Kong, Buster Cube and the Activity Ball.
- Hiding food parcels around the house for your dog to find
- The plant pot game – hide some food under a plant pot and allow your dog to find the food.
- Save cardboard boxes, place shredded paper inside and hide treats for your dog to find.
Take it Easy With Toys
If your dog likes to chase and retrieve, then let it be! Chase and retrieve can still be played in the garden or in the house whilst being kept a low impact game for the owner, yet, high drive and fun for the dog. You can play the game for short periods of time throughout the day to keep your dog active.
For dogs that like to chase, the Fling-Ball is a low impact game to try. You can sit and throw the ball for your dog to chase, over and over again, without having to move about yourself.
For dogs that like to retrieve, hiding a tennis ball or canvas dummy for them to seek out and retrieve back to you should be fun. You may have to ask someone to hide the toy for you.