STROUD District Council's animal welfare service has issued welfare advice for dog owners that are concerned about Covid-19 restrictions.

Dog owners are concerned that they will be unable to walk their dogs amidst fears of contracting and spreading the virus, so their animal welfare officer reveals that spending 10-15 minutes training or mentally stimulating a dog can have the equivalent effect of a 30-45 minute walk.

In a post on the Animal Welfare Service, Stroud District Council, Facebook page, their animal welfare officer offered examples of activities to try:

  1. Ditch The Bowl! – Rather than feeding your dog from their bowl why not try hiding their food around the house and encourage them to sniff and search it out. You might want to try filling up a laundry basket with screwed up old newspaper, empty plastic bottles and tennis balls and then hide their food amongst the items. Your dog will love rummaging through it for something tasty! Or use some upturned plastic beakers to hide treats under, show your dog which one the treat is under and then mix the beakers up and let them sniff it out.
  2. Teach An Old Dog New Tricks! – The old saying simply isn’t true! Have you always wanted to teach your dog to roll over or to give paw? Well now’s the time. Your dog will love the challenge and it always provides a laugh for their human.
  3. Basic Training – Why not take the time to go over some basic training? We all teach our dogs some basic commands when they first arrive, but how often do we use them and practise them. Get your dog sitting, staying and lying down for a tasty treat.
  4. Ball Time – If you’ve got access to a garden, some ball time (even if they run off with it, like mine) is always great fun.
  5. Grooming – A lot of dogs moult their winter coats this time of year, so a good groom is great for their coat and is important bonding time between you and your dog.
  6. Finally, remember to go easy on fatty treats - use a handful of their normal daily food or a healthy alternative to reward your dogs. Post some photos of what you get up to in the comments, we’d love to see and it will give others some ideas.

They remind owners that it is possible to properly excise dogs without walking them, although this is not ideal, there are always situations that can prevent going out for walks.