Estimated reading time: 4 mins
It seems like the coronavirus has changed everything about our lives. While we may need to change things up a bit, our safety and that of our pets have to come first. If you’re careful about how you approach things, you’ll find that both of you can still be healthy and happy. Read on and we’ll give you some ideas.
- Change Walks to Be Safe
Dog walks have been listed as exceptions to lockdowns in many places. Still, you need to be as safe as possible when you’re facing the outdoors. There’s a little more to it than their used to be.
The first thing to do is to ensure that you’re in compliance with local regulations. These usually mean social distancing at a distance of at least 6 feet and wearing a mask. Your jurisdiction may have a more extensive program in place, so check first.
Plan your walk at times where few people are going to be out. Early mornings are best in most areas, so plan on setting your alarm for a bit earlier than normal. Alternatively, if you live in an area with mostly essential personnel, a walk during the day may be the right answer.
Use Google Maps to familiarize yourself with streets and try to plot a course that brings you into as little contact with others as possible. Have a couple of possible routes as well, limiting interaction with others is important during these trying times.
- Get Prepared
While it’s unlikely that the supply chain is going to be too heavily disrupted, you may find that it’s hard to get things on occasion. People stock up on the strangest things, but pet supplies are essential.
Do you have everything you need for your animals? Buying at least a few weeks ahead is a good idea. A month would be better.
That means food for all of your animals, mostly, but keepers of more exotic animals may need other supplies on a regular basis.
Prepare now. It’ll also help reduce the trips you need to make, which reduces overall exposure to the public and the virus.
- New Playtimes
If you’re stuck home, you’re likely in need of more entertainment. Schedule playtimes with your animals, creating a new tradition for the duration of quarantining measures.
Dogs, especially, will benefit from the change of pace. Walks are likely to be shorter and more tightly controlled during this period so they need more ways to burn off energy. Dogs tend to get a bit destructive when they’re overly energetic, so head things off.
Simple games like tug of war are great and burn off a lot of energy. You can even play a bit of fetch indoors. Just something to take your mind off being home and to help your dog stay active.
Cats will benefit too, even if it’s just a few minutes of having them chase a laser pointer.
- Keep Them Occupied With Puzzle Toys
If you’re still in the field, then you’ll need to make sure your pets are stimulated. Puzzle toys are the best “fire-and-forget” measure. You can just leave them out before you leave the house.
Your animals are likely to have more energy than normal, especially dogs who aren’t being walked as regularly. They need stimulation as much as we do, so find a great toy that will give them something to do during the day.
There’s a wide variety of them available online or in pet stores. If you can’t find anything, you can repurpose a simple dog Kong to provide them with hours of entertainment.
Of course, you can also just change their environment for now. There are a ton of DIY ideas online, any of which can make things drastically different around the house. Besides, they may be just the thing to keep you occupied as well.
- Monitor Their Mental Health
Your animals may be suffering during this period as well, particularly if you’re very anxious about the virus. Being in isolation isn’t a great feeling, and your empathetic fur babies are likely to pick up that something is wrong.
Watch for symptoms of separation anxiety and even depression. Changes in appetite or sleeping habits are the big ones. Other animals may develop nervous habits, or they may just have more energy than usual and get into trouble more without adequate stimulation.
Of course, many animals will be overjoyed to spend more time with their owners. If your pet is in that category then you’re good to go, at least on this aspect.
Besides, even if you’re feeling down… you’ve got a space to share with your pet! And that’s more than many people have.
Stay Safe… Both of You
Our lives have been drastically interrupted thanks to COVID-19. Fortunately, we can still enjoy our pets and make sure they’re safe and healthy through it by taking some simple steps. The sooner you act… the safer you’ll be! Just think things through and keep an eye out. You and your pet can weather this together!