The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us. Many of us are already working from home, finding new ways to be productive and to entertain ourselves, and new methods to connect with our loved ones. For those of us who are pet owners, however, the quarantine comes with an added challenge: stocking up on essentials and finding ways to keep our fluffy friends engaged, especially if they’re used to being outdoors. Here are a few tips to help you keep your fuzzy friend healthy and happy during these times:
Stock up on essentials like you would do for yourself
Just like you should prepare essentials for yourself in case you can’t go out, you should stock up on basics for your fluffy friend. When it comes to food, you should buy enough to last you for at least a month. You can also have high-quality meals sent to your home through specialized services. Pet Plate delivers dog food made from human-grade ingredients to your doorstep. Their meals are also pre-prepared and portioned so you can serve them with little to no effort.
Of course, food isn’t the only thing you should consider when prepping for a quarantine. If you have a cat, World’s Best Cat Litter is made from a special formula that clumps more easily, absorbs odor and ensures a bag will last you much longer than regular litter. Also, if your pet is under medication for a chronic illness, buy enough to last you through extended isolation. The same goes for anti-parasite treatments.
The first thing you need to know is that so far, research shows most pets cannot get infected with or transmit the COVID-19 virus, so you can rest assured your buddy will be safe, and so will your cuddles and playtime. Cats and ferrets, however, can get the virus, even though they are unlikely to spread it to humans. Regardless of what pet you have, make sure they do not come in contact with people who are ill and clean their snouts and paws if you take them outside.
Still, if you had a vet visit coming up over the next few weeks, reschedule it and try to get an appointment as fast as you can. Even if you weren’t planning on taking your four-legged friend to the vet soon, consider making an appointment to make sure they’re healthy. While your pet may seem perfectly fine, some illnesses can take a while to develop symptoms. Get your pet a full check-up to make sure you won’t end up in an emergency without being able to take care of it in time.
Engage your pet with playtime and special toys
While indoor cats and other small animals are used to being kept in confined spaces, outdoor cats and dogs will need extra activities if you have to keep them inside while you’re self-isolating or in quarantine. If you have the time, play some engaging games with your dog or cat. You can build tunnels out of cardboard boxes to help them get exercise, hide treats under different items and have your pet look for them, or just roll around the floor with them and provide extra cuddles.
You can also get interactive toys that are designed to keep cats and dogs engaged and entertained. These types of toys act like puzzles, which will give them a mental workout while they’re playing or eating. P.L.A.Y. offers a wide range of cat and dog toys and has an enrichment category where you can get play tunnels, wobble balls for dogs, and an interactive mouse box for your cat.
Prepare alternatives to walking your dog
This scenario is unlikely to happen if you remain healthy during the pandemic. But if you end up in a situation where you’re living on your own and cannot leave the house, consider setting up an alternative to walking your dog. This is especially important if you’re in a big city where there’s a higher chance of getting a disease, like if you’re living in a Phoenix apartment. If you can, establish an emergency contact that could take care of your fluffer while you are sick. Alternatively, artificial grass patches and pads can serve as makeshift toilets for your pet if you train them.
To teach your dog to relieve itself indoors, you essentially need to repeat the usual steps you go through to take them outside but lead them to the makeshift toilet instead. Put your outdoor clothes and shoes on, collar your dog, and walk them around the apartment for a few minutes. Lead your pet to the pad and stay there with them until they use it, giving them a treat if they do. Of course, this may not work from the get-go. If your dog poops on the floor, instead of throwing it out, place it on the pad and lead your fluffy friend to it.
Connect with your pet and keep an eye on their mood
Finally, connect with your pet! Make sure they get enough cuddles and playtime. Training your pet is also a great way to establish a deeper relationship, so if you have a dog or a cat, consider teaching them some new things. Besides the connection, they’ll get some healthy mental exercise.
At the same time, keep an eye on their behavior. Pets can feel anxiety and depression just like us humans do, so make sure you give them some extra time and affection if you notice something’s off. Health problems can also make pets sluggish, however, so rule those out first.
All in all, as long as you keep an eye on your pet and stimulate them, they’ll surely be healthy and happy through this crisis. They’ve probably never had so much time with you and are delighted to have you home in the first place, anyways. At the same time, care for yourself first so you can care for them.
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