Local Dog Walking during lockdown

If there is one thing that many dogs look forward to each day, it is getting out of the house for a walk. Whereas this used to be plentiful, the arrival of COVID-19 and the resulting Government measures that followed, has caused changes to the routines of both pets and owners alike.

So, to make sure you (and your pet!) can get the most out of ‘walkies’ we have put together five handy tips:

  1. Using the lead

With the advice being to keep your dog on the lead when out walking, this might be not what your dog is used to. They might start pulling ahead on the lead or start trying to grab the lead with their mouths. Scattering treats on the ground as you are walking or holding a treat in your hand, may mean they focus their attention on them and not the lead or giving them their favourite toy to carry in their mouths might keep the lead free. Training your dog to walk on a loose lead will make the walk more enjoyable for both of you – especially if you are out with young children too.

  1. Keeping the walk fun

To keep the walk interesting for your dog, you could practice training exercises using a long lead and harness and their favourite treat or toy. Getting them to come back to you when called will allow you to keep on top of social distancing, but also gives your dog an element of freedom, while still on their lead, to explore when no-one is around.

  1. Maximise opportunities for a walk

With the Government measures currently allowing a person to leave the house for one piece of exercise a day, this provides your dog with at least one walk daily. However, if there are more adults in the house, or others willing to help, then each of them could separately take a walk – meaning plenty of fresh air for your dog!

Do be careful though not to over walk your dog, especially if they’re very young, or older.

  1. Finding the best routine

It sounds a bit strange, but at a time when ours have drastically changed, routine could be exactly what your dog needs! That means sticking to a similar time each day for their walk or keeping the preparation the same. On the other hand, if your dog isn’t too fussed by routine, different sights and smells each day might make it more interesting and help you find places to walk where less people are around.

  1. Going off the beaten track

With popular dog walking areas locally to you making social distancing more of a challenge, the temptation to find quieter walking routes might take you in to the countryside. There is nothing wrong with this but remember to follow the designated footpaths, closing any gates behind you and not straying into fields of crops. Do avoid fields with livestock, especially during the current lambing and calving season. There is also plenty of young wildlife and livestock about that can be frightened by your dog, so it is important to obey any signs you see.  Be mindful that we are in tick season too, and those quieter wooded areas are the ideal habitats for ticks this time of year! Please contact us if you need to purchase the relevant treatment.

But what if you are walking a neighbour’s or relative’s dog as they can’t get out? The above tips can still apply but below are some other points to consider:

  • Linked to finding the best routine, agree the best time and how long the walk will last with the owner to avoid any confusion.
  • Work out how best to collect and return the dog that still allows you to obey social distancing guidelines.
  • Where possible use a different lead, ensuring that it is washed with soap and water after use.
  • Washing your hands before leaving home and again when returning is also best practice.

More information on the above can be found on both the RSPCA and Dogs Trust websites.

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month. This campaign, led by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), aims to raise awareness of the importance of the role of the veterinary nursing profession to the public.

Veterinary nurses are an integral part of the veterinary team at Hawick, and are vital for the smooth running of any veterinary practice.  As well as providing expert nursing care for poorly animals, veterinary nurses also play a significant role in supporting pet owners in keeping their pets healthy.  They carry out essential clinical work and are skilled in undertaking a range of diagnostic tests, treatments and minor surgical procedures, with veterinary support.  Registered Veterinary Nurses have the technical knowledge and hands-on expertise to care for animals with skill and empathy.

The title of Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) can be used by nurses who have undergone extensive training and education. Once they’ve passed their final nursing exams, nurses are entered onto the VN register and are regulated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). They follow the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, which includes requirements to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to keep their skills up to date.

At Hawick, we are extremely proud of our veterinary nurses. We have an amazing team who are dedicated to supporting our clients and their pets.  Even during this challenging time, some of our nurses are still working in-practice helping to support emergency and urgent cases.

Click here to meet our nursing team at Hawick.

To find out more about role of RVNs in veterinary practice, or if you are interested in finding out more about a career in veterinary nursing, visit the BVNA website at www.bvna.org.uk/a-career-in-veterinary-nursing/a-career-in-veterinary-nursing.