The deadly COVID-19 virus has begun spreading like wildfire across the globe. We might be unaware of the fact that our pets may also become the victim of coronavirus infection. There are certain things that you should know and before you rush to the nearest pet store, you should know that your pets might be safer than you are. Here’s some helpful advice for families on how to take care of their pets during, and after this pandemic.
Maintain your pets’ mental and physical wellness
It’s easy to let your pets fall behind in their wellness routine as we focus on other concerns. We know how important it is to keep them safe and healthy during the pandemic. But we also want to share with you what we’ve learned about keeping our pets happy and healthy during this time.
First, let’s frame what we mean by keeping your pet healthy and happy:
Nutrition: The most important part of keeping your pet healthy is nutrition. Healthy food will help them maintain a good weight and provide the nutrients they need to function properly. You can purchase pre-made raw diets or make your own raw diet for dogs and cats. (However, we recommend you provide homemade diets as much as you can). If you’re worried about food shortages, you can also make sure your pets have special treats like dog bones or catnip.
Exercise: Not only does exercise help keep muscle mass up, but it also gives your pet’s brain a chance to switch off that pesky fear response. Additionally, there are many benefits of exercise, including stress reduction, mental health support, enhanced wellbeing, and even reduced risk of various diseases. Just remember that exercising too much can cause dehydration. So make sure you give your pet plenty of water when they get physically active.
A clean environment: While there are no immediate visible signs of an unhealthy environment, you can still see physical changes in your pet over time. So it’s important to keep your home environment clean by providing an area for your pet to exercise indoors, while also providing fresh water at all times. You may also want to provide daily cleaning solutions for the litter box if possible.
During a pandemic, dog owners will lose the ability to leave their pets alone for extended periods of time. They may need to stay with their dogs 24 hours a day, every day. If you lose your ability to leave your pet alone, don’t leave them in an interior room with no windows or ventilation. Instead, consider leaving them in the backyard or in a room with both windows and ventilation.
While it is recommended that you and your pets stay indoors as much as possible, it is usual for you and your dog to become trapped inside. The American Kennel Club shares a variety of activities to keep both dogs and their owners engaged, entertain, and active.
- Play Hide and Seek
- Learn Scent Work
- Turn an Old T-Shirt Into a Toy
- Go For a Swim Indoors
Can you take your dog for a stroll during the COVID-19 pandemic?
According to the American Cannel Club, Dog owners who are healthy and well can continue walking their dogs with extra safety measures if they are allowed to venture outdoors according to your local area’s stay-home rules.
For your dog walks, the CDC also suggests the following:
- Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people and animals when walking your dog on a leash.
- Allowing pets to interact with people or other animals outside the home is not recommended.
Before and after each stroll, pet parents should properly wash their hands (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water as well as carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer with you on your walks if you have one.
Here are some tips at a glance to help make sure your pets stay safe:
- Walk your dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
- Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household. If you must let your pets interact outside the house, always keep them away from livestock and poultry, as well as wild animals and reptiles.
- Make sure your pets have annual veterinary checkups. If you notice anything unusual — such as changes in behavior — contact your veterinarian right away. If something is found during a checkup that might indicate a health issue, discuss it with your veterinarian and follow his or her advice about what you should do next.
- Avoid exposure to sick people and their pets by staying away from areas where sick people have been exposed to infections like flu or pneumonia for several days after they’ve recovered. Some diseases can be spread by touching things contaminated with fluids from sick people or their pets or infected material like cough drops or tissues that have come into contact with infected fluids in someone’s mouth or nose.
- Take good care of your pets through their physical activities, healthy diets, entertainment, and regular hygiene.