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It should be the phrase on all dog owners’ lips as we gradually emerge from lockdown.
A play on the government’s HANDS, FACE, SPACE, this adapted version of the well-known slogan reminds pet owners to remain calm when taking their dogs for a walk in newly-crowded areas such as town centres, keep space from others and a good pace to boot.
“Covid-19 has changed the way everyone has lived and many people are finding understanding the relaxing of restrictions a struggle… this includes our four-legged family members!” says Laura Shears, Managing Director of Vet’s Kitchen, “We’ve been thinking about how we can help our nation’s pet owners with their own "roadmap out of lockdown”, which is why we have released a support-guide to help pets adjust to life after Covid and to avoid the problems of separation anxiety.”
Over the past 18 months, we’ve spent a lot of time in relative isolation with just our household members and pets for company. Limited to four walls and an hour of exercise at peak lockdown has meant that the four-legged family members we live with have becomes accustomed to less exposure to strangers. Socialising with humans aside, our pets have also been restricted from playing with one another.
That’s why we have created a 5-point plan, with a cheeky nod to Boris Johnson’s Roadmap out of Lockdown, to help owners make sure their pets are reintroduced to the world gently and risk-free. This means laying the foundations with some coping mechanisms and lots of strokes and reassurance.
"Being plunged into the deep end in terms of socialising again will be fine for some dogs (just like it’s fine for some humans), but others could suffer from the shock of too much stimulation and will need to take things more slowly. We’ve got used to existing in a closed family group, and our pets especially aren’t used to sharing! This particularly applies to new puppies who might have joined the team during lockdown. Try using a treat to reward your dog for good behaviour when out and about. Vet's Kitchen Little Stars are a naturally nutritious, soft treat, ideal for use when training dogs of all ages.” explains Fiona Firth, Vet’s Kitchen pet nutritionist.