DOG owners have been advised to cut down their pets’ daily calorific intake while restricted to only one walk per day.

North-East canine behavioural and training expert Jacquie Hall said owners should also be more imaginative in giving their dogs their daily meals and treats to make them work a little harder for their food.

She was speaking as owners adjust to the advice to only take their dogs for a single walk each day to help restrict the spread of coronavirus.

“It’s difficult to get free-running exercise.

“We must start cutting the food down a little bit or put them on lesser calorific or protein value food to see them through the coming weeks and months while they are not getting as much exercise.

“It’s not a good idea if you are feeding the dog the normal amount of food.

“Also, dogs don’t have to be fed in the dog bowl dish in the kitchen, let them earn the food, maybe scattering it around the garden so they have to go and forage for it.

“Put the food in plastic bottles, maybe with the top cut off, so you can teach the dogs to learn to spin and tip up the bottle and make it harder for them to get their treats out.”

She said other ways of making the dog work for food is to place it in toilet and kitchen roll cardboard holders with the ends turned up, or inside rolled up paper packaging.

“Just do something to stimulate them and use a portion of the dog’s food.”

Ms Hall, of Northumberland Canine Centre, which has cancelled all training classes during the crisis, advised owners to seek further novel feeding advice via the Canine Enrichment Facebook group.