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How to Keep You & Your Pet Happy During Isolation

George & Friends was founded in September 2015 by Paul Ahmet-Thomas, who swapped a successful career in the kitchen with a much more rewarding life looking after dogs. During this time he recognises the challenge for pet owners and pets alike. Yes, even they are adjusting! It’s a great time to enhance your relationship with your pet but it’s important you consider their wellbeing, routine and exercise.

We caught up with Paul as he offers his top pieces of advice, he notes:

“Lockdown has been a real challenge for dog parents. Exercise and social contact have been restricted with some boroughs banning off-lead walking in their parks. We’ve had to be more resourceful & innovative with how we entertain our dogs indoors, which isn’t a problem, as mental stimulation is just as beneficial as physical exercise for them.”

Here are some useful tips to remember during this time:

Indoor Practices
I do scent work with my two dogs indoors, which involves hiding treats around the room, using whatever I can find including: egg boxes, paper and cups to hide them in. It’s a really easy and inexpensive way to keep your pets stimulated! You can also use an old toilet roll/kitchen tube to enclose a treat inside with tape either side - they will have to figure out how to get the treats, which usually involves a bit of mess in the process!

We have been blessed with the ability to take one walk a day and I recommend using them wisely! It’s an opportunity to map out new routes and explore unfamiliar areas. We’re lucky enough to live in a city that has an abundance of parks & green space, so we’ve been making the most of lockdown visiting the ones within walking distance from our home. Street walking is great exercise for them, and a long walk in either the morning or afternoon is enough.

Ask for help
If your situation changes and you are unable to walk to care for your animals, Underdog International is offering support to anyone who needs assistance due to the Covid-19 outbreak. You need to register with them first, but they have a whole team of experienced volunteers and resources ready to help whoever needs it. I recommend always letting your local friends/family know, they might also be willing to socially distantly share the load!

Sustainable menu
Fortunately pet shops & supermarkets have remained open through the Covid-19 outbreak which has meant that there haven’t been any food shortages. Lockdown in our house has meant that we’ve been cooking a lot more than usual and a ‘zero waste policy’ has really benefited our boys, with crispy salmon skin, chicken skin, pork scratchings and liver brownie just some of the things they’ve had on their lockdown menu.

Virtual meet-ups
If you’re missing the comradery in isolation, dog meet-ups have gone virtual too! Dachshund Cafe and Paawstival are offering virtual discos and festivals so you and your pet don’t have to miss out on the fun.

Dogs are helping all of us get through lockdown. I’ve noticed that most of my friends or clients and everyone says the same thing: ‘I don’t know how I would cope without them’. They provide incredible companionship to those who are self-isolating on their own, and of course a brilliant excuse to leave the house for those who are able to. Make the most of the special moments between you and your pet.

George & Friends is situated at Hackney Downs Studios. They have reopened their studio doors, following government's social distancing guidelines and using protective equipment.

For more information on how to enroll your furry friend, look no further: www.georgeandfriends.co.uk

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