As many of us start to cautiously head back into the office after working from home, it’s not just ourselves that will feel the initial shock but our pandemic pooches too.
In 2020 pet ownership in the U.S. reached an all-time high with approximately 11.38 million U.S. households obtaining a new pet for companionship during the pandemic. All those months spent working from home would have delivered much needed exercise and attention craved for by our furry friends.
As you return to work the chance of potential weight gain in our pampered pooches is probable as the frequency of daily exercise becomes reduced and the anxiety of separation comes into play. If you notice your pooch looking a bit more pudgy than usual, or lacking in motivation, check out our below list of potential signs that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise. Hopefully, these top tips will help you find right balance between work and your dog’s wellbeing.
1. WEIGHT GAIN
One of the easiest signs that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise is of course weight gain. Overweight dogs need more exercise to reach and maintain a healthy weight causes a wide range of health problems. The feel and prominence of your dog’s ribs are a major indicator of weight issues, says Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, a veterinary advisor for DogLab and practitioner at Whitehouse Veterinary Animal Hospital in Whitehouse, Texas. “If your dog’s ribs aren’t extremely prominent and you can easily feel them without having to press hard, then the dog is fit,” she says. For overweight dogs, it’s exceedingly difficult to feel their ribs because of their body fat covering that area in front of them.
2. CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR
Just like adults, our dogs also need an outlet for their energy and need to get enough exercise to maintain an appropriate weight. You can start to tell if your dog is lacking in exercise when they become bored, lethargic, or frustrated. This tends to manifest itself as destructive behavior or aggression.
Some key signs of destructive behavior could be digging up the garden, chewing personal items, finding their way into the trash can, or leaving poop “presents” for you around the home. You can deter your dog from accessing certain areas when you aren’t home however with a Hakuna Pet Timber Pet Barrier. These helpful pet accessories also come with an extra wide option to keep our destructive doggies at bay.
3. DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY
Exercise isn’t just physical; dogs need movement just as much as humans do to maintain their own mental and emotional health. Without enough exercise dogs may become depressed or anxious which may be more likely to develop now as pet owners head back into the office. With less time spent out on adventures or playing with their humans, weight gain can occur and lack of motivation to move caused by separation anxiety and a depressive state. Ensuring your dog has easy access to roam free outside is key in combatting potential weight gain and their overall wellbeing. Head online to Hakuna Pets and discover their wide range of pet access solutions. With options to suit all dog sizes and breeds, you’ll find an outdoor access doggy door to fit any door, and even sliding glass doors.
4. LACK OF MOVEMENT
Exercise may be important for maintaining weight, but it is also important to ensure our dogs have healthy bones and joints. As dogs become less active mobility issues can start to occur as their muscles weaken and they become more prone to injury and joint problems. More importantly the cardiovascular system will not be receiving the use it should which can result in potential heart issues and a less supportive immune system.
5. EXCESSIVE BARKING
Many dogs bark because they are bored, and more so if you aren’t home at entertain them. Since dogs don’t have many ways to communicate their feelings to us, they see constant or excessive barking as the only way to get our attention. Often the context of their communication is simply that they want to go outside and play! Too much pent-up energy can often present itself for dogs in the form of vocalization. Installing a doggy door or some other type of outdoor pet access will provide opportunities for your dog to take themselves outside at times for entertainment and exercise when you are not at home. This will not only benefit your lonely pooch, but we’re sure your neighbours will thank you too.
The past few years of home isolation and lockdowns have impacted all of us including our dogs too. As we move forward and look to discover what our new normal looks like, we also need to try and find the right work/ life balance that allows our pets the time they need to settle into new routines. Allowing them access to the outside area of your home via pet door is the first steps in allowing them a space to distract and entertain them when you are no longer at home to provide that for them.