Pets need to be kept fit and healthy during the coronavirus lockdown. But with so many of us working from home or self-isolating, making sure our pets get enough food and exercise may be a concern.
The rules around leaving the house for exercise mean owners should be able to walk their dogs once a day but we know normal routines may be disrupted, especially for people who are also looking after and shopping for families.
It's worth making sure you have enough healthy food and snacks for your pets but because pet shops care classed as essential services there's no need to panic buy.
Sarah James, our veterinary nurse, has some tips on giving your pet the right amount of food during this time.
Think of your pet’s normal activity levels
If your pet is less active than normal because of the lockdown, their bodies may take a little while to adapt, so it’s best that portions aren't cut down immediately.
Some dogs and cats will always need more food than others and the current situation won’t change this. Your pet's daily activity levels should be your guide.
If you think your pet is not getting the same amount of exercise, it's ok to slightly reduce the amount of food you're giving them. A 5% to 15% reduction would be appropriate but keep checking your pet's weight and overall condition regularly.
The government has confirmed that pet shops are essential businesses and can remain open during the lockdown. You should check the pet food manufacturer's feeding guidelines and weigh out your pet’s food to check they’re not being over or underfed.
Check out our guide to keeping your pet happy and healthy during the coronavirus lockdown to find out about games you can play with food and treats.
Give pets alternative treats
If you’re concerned your pet will put on weight because they’re getting less exercise, it’s best to reduce the number of treats you give them.
You should replace high-calorie dog treats with naturally low-calorie water-based vegetables like broccoli, green beans, cauliflower and cucumber.
Giving dogs pigs ears to chew or eat will keeps them entertained. These types of chews all add to their food consumption for that day.
Another great alternative to treats is giving them small portions of their breakfast or dinner throughout the day as a snack.
We have the latest information about coronavirus and pets and how our insurance can help here.