Has lockdown transformed the realities of pet ownership?

Barry Rubery, Co-Founder of kasperandkitty.com shed light on how pet parents are supporting their dog’s wellbeing during and following lockdown.

Lockdown completely transformed our lives; exercise regimes were thrown in the air, anxieties soared and supermarket shopping became more challenging than ever. No longer could we walk our dogs in groups or flippantly ‘pop to the shops’ for dog food. Instead, lockdown has inspired a new normal, transforming the realities of pet ownership. As we adjust our dogs’ fitness regimes and embrace the ease of online subscription services, it seems that the pet-parent dynamic has truly entered a new era.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Waltham Foundation, 86% of us feel that we have bonded more with our animals since being in lockdown, whilst 43% believe that our pets have reduced our anxiety levels. The result? We now spend over £5.4 billion per year on pet-related products and services, including food and walking; our gratitude towards man’s best friend is undeniable. However, a ‘worrying’ rise in dog behaviour has been reported following lockdown. With research demonstrating a 20% rise in dogs’ attention seeking behaviour, a 54% jump in reports of dogs recoiling when approached by pet parents and a 41% rise in them being clingy, it’s clear that more needs to be done to support our pets through this unprecedented, challenging period.

There aren’t many silver linings to the uncertainty ensued by Coronavirus, however it does seem to have inspired a wave of health-driven, forward-thinking changes; thanks to evolving technology and pet parents’ love for their pets, the wellbeing of British dogs is on track to reach an all-time high.

Since lockdown began, we have successfully embraced the power of technology to keep our pets fit, healthy and happy. For example, kasperandkitty.com have seen the popularity of their unique FitKolars and Kalorometer (calorie monitor which shows the pet owner how many calories their pet has consumed) soar over recent months, as its been suggested that smart-tech products are leading the pet market. Lockdown has re-adjusted all of our priorities and, thankfully, technology is keeping up. Our unique FitKolars are essentially Fitbits for dogs; they track your dog’s activity, distance walked, playtime and time rested, creating an accurate analysis of your dog’s daily movements and, as a result, invaluable insight into their wellbeing. Covid-19 has made it more important than ever before for you to understand your pet; wellbeing is not a simple equation, with one walk a day and a couple of treats making for a happy dog. You must understand how long they’ve been active for, whether they’re sleeping well and, sometimes, you need a little guidance.

Amid lockdown our pets, like us, have inevitably become less active; this is something you need to be aware of and closely consider. If they’re moving less, their recommended food portions will change. All of this affects into their overall wellbeing.

We have learnt countless lessons throughout lockdown with regards to health and wellbeing, namely that it’s all-encompassing. The same can be said for our pets. Walks are important, of course, but you need to carefully consider your pet’s dietary intake too. Counting calories isn’t only for humans. Dogs have been gaining ‘pandemic pounds’ at a staggering rate, meaning their diets aren’t as streamlined as pet parents would like to think. Kasper and Kitty provides a dashboard for each dog, to keep on top of things. This can be viewed on the website or mobile App and on each dog’s dashboard you can use our unique Kalorometer (calorie tracker), and kasperandkitty.com food, to successfully balance your dog’s diet together with our healthy treats and dental sticks. As with humans, it’s important that nothing slips through the cracks! This ensures that your pet is kept healthy and fit, in accordance with their activity levels; if lockdown is limiting the length of their walks, then you can confidently know that your dog won’t gain weight as our technology instantly updates their meal plan (every kasperandkitty.com meal plan is bespoke and made as per the nutritional needs of your dog). Your dog’s diet and fitness regimes should never be static. Our pets’ lives, like ours, are constantly changing, meaning what they eat should too.

If you are trying to stay healthy during lockdown then it’s likely that you chose to eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods. This is the key to facilitating a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mindset, which is why we use UK-made and sourced, high-quality ingredients to enrich your dog’s wellbeing from the inside. Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that every dog is unique; just like humans, your pet might be a little sensitive to certain kinds of foods, making them wheat or dairy intolerant. Buying from supermarket shelves is therefore not only heavy lifting and inconvenient, it often fails to serve your dog’s complex needs. Our customers have responded fantastically to our tailor-made meal plans, which include grain-free and cereal-free options for sensitive stomachs. Amid Covid-19, if you know your pet is healthy and cared for then this alleviates a huge worry. Coronavirus has made consumers hesitant to visit supermarkets and pet shops, however it has made them more determined to lead a fulfilling life. As such, pet parents are spending more time and money on their pets – they’re just doing it remotely. Pet parenting has finally joined us in the 21st century.

Not only has lockdown made us more aware of how much, or little, exercise our pets are doing, and comparatively more committed to creating tailored meal plans for our dogs, it has changed the very logistics of pet care. In light of current restrictions, pet check-ups aren’t as readily accessible, whilst technology continues to develop and online-alternatives sway even the most apprehensive of owners. Committed pet owners now go above and beyond to fulfil the needs of their pets, as they have supported us through lockdown in ways we couldn’t possibly have imagined… from FitKolars to diet changes and embracing a more comprehensive view of our pets’ wellbeing, Covid-19 has done one positive thing: it’s opened our eyes and pushed us to do better.”

To find out more about Kasper and Kitty visit www.kasperandkitty.com.