Easter Family Fun :))

by Tim Kirby Veterinary Surgeon

If you’ve recently found yourself at home more than ever before, with children for what seems like 24/7, and also spending 24/7 with a pet along with new internet calls for work, juggling other life balances then…….you’re not on your own! Let’s face it, there are new demands on us all right now, so what can we do to make our days at home more interesting, and particularly more interactive for both our pets and children.

As this is new territory for most people, coming up with new imaginative ideas right now is the key. So don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers, we can help you. Take a few breaths and realise that your pet and children will relish the simple games, and being involved is what really matters most to them.

Having a dog right now, may add some stress as you can’t walk and exercise them as normal. You may be limited in terms of when and how you can walk them due to caring for your children and keeping within the remit of the restrictions, or find that your kids are breaking all rules and ruining your efforts with the dog by showering them with sweets and treats, which essentially activates some dogs even more. Calmness is King right now!

Before you decide that it’s all too much for you………… check out our really nice article for the Top 5 tips and ideas for parents who have both children and dogs at home. If you can manage  to keep them all occupied right now during the Coronavirus restrictions, this will certainly make your life alot easier and ease your mental load. We all need simple and effective tools right now, and we all matter, so don’t forget about yourself.

1. Why not try rainbow-spotting dog walks

Many children across Ireland are taking part in self created coronavirus-related remote activities such as drawing or making rainbows and displaying them in their homes and windows, as a way to connect with others. What better way to sodden this afternoon!?

Children (and adults!) can turn spotting them and counting them into a game during their daily period of outdoor activity.

As you walk your dog make them part of the rainbow-spotting fun, and vary your route each time until you think you’ve found all of them.

2. Set up a treasure hunt in your home or garden

Keeping your kids active with a single activity outside of the home can be a challenge, and the same is true for dogs. You therefore need to become creative about what can be achieved indoors and in a small garden if available. An exciting scavenger hunt or treasure trail around your home with clues and small treats or activities at each stop-off is something that can keep your kids busy for a while.

Place some treats on the trail for your dog to sniff out too and encourage the children to actively involve the dog, they will both love it. Also, some children will follow the dogs nose and reach the treasure much quicker!!

3. Teach your children about dog training and care

Right now, being at home with your dogs and children and having so much time available can be can opportunity in many ways. What an opportunity to teach your children about dogs, how they behave normally, how they think, and how they interact with humans. This is also a great time to explain to children about the close bond we all have with our pets, and how this is enriching for us both mentally and physically.We also expect that plenty of adults will realise the magic of their pets again during this reflective period.

4. Let the dog and children exhaust one another!

Right now, dogs and children are loaded bundles of energy awaiting to emit this to the universe! The key is…….how to make this happen. Why not let them both interact and both flush this energy out so that they all sleep happily at night. Simple games such as tug of war, fetch, fill the kong, paws and much more will allow both to run and have plenty of fun. Make sure that children know the limits with respect to what a dog tolerates and not, as they do not want to annoy the dog. Explain to your children also, that now is an unusual time for dog too. Due to a virus in humans, it means your dog is spending more time at home, which may not always be the normal routine for him/her. Therefore, feeding too many sweets and treats is not helpful for most pets right now!

5. Sing along with your dog!

Some dogs absolutely love singing along with their pets, and what a great way for everyone to literally strike the same note together. We have seen dogs that actually remember beats to songs and spontaneously break into a tune of their own accord. Why not set up a keyboard, grab a guitar or other instrument and get playing together. If your dog likes it, send us your videos or pictures to us @petbond_Ireland on Twitter and Instagram.