If you’re a pet owner, you may be wondering how you can keep your pet happy and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. One good thing all pet owners should remember during this challenging time is that there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to pets. But though pets aren’t getting sick from the novel coronavirus, many are experiencing drastic changes to their routines. As the lives of pet owners change, so do the lives of our furry friends. So what should you do to take care of your pet if you’re currently practicing social distancing or if you end up needing to quarantine? Below, we’ll share some helpful tips on how to care for your pet during this unusual time in our history.
Many of us have stocked up on supplies for ourselves in anticipation of staying at home for a while during the coronavirus outbreak. But if you have pets, remember that you also need supplies for them. You shouldn’t overbuy, since you want to be mindful of the fact that other people need supplies for their pets too. But it’s a good idea to have a couple of weeks of pet supplies on hand if you won’t be heading to the store soon due to the spread of coronavirus in your community. Some essential items you should consider stocking up on include pet food, treats, cat litter, medications, and supplements.
Keep Your Pets Entertained
If your pet will be inside with you, you’ll want to keep them entertained. Keeping your pet entertained is good for them, but also good for you, especially if you need to work from home and you don’t want constant interruptions. If you’ve already got enough toys at home or if your pet is great at entertaining themself, you’re all set. But if you need more ways to keep your pets entertained, you can order some toys online or create some DIY entertainment with things you already have at home. Some great, stimulating toys to consider ordering include treat dispensers, puzzle toys, and ball throwers. Then, here are some DIY pet entertainment ideas you can create at home:
- Makeshift Fetch Toys: If you’re out of balls to play fetch with, you can play fetch with something else. A rolled up pair of socks (that you’re willing to part with) is a good option, as is an empty toilet paper roll.
- Scavenger Hunt: Try hiding treats around your house that your dog can track down.
- DIY Tug-of-War Toy: If your dog loves a good game of tug-of-war but you don’t have a braided rope toy, an old towel can be a good stand-in.
- DIY String Toy: It’s easy to make a DIY string toy that your cat can enjoy batting at. Just string up a feather, a piece of felt, or any other cat-safe material on a stick.
- Makeshift Laser Toy: Don’t have a laser pointer your cat can chase? There are several apps that can make your phone into a laser pointer.
- DIY Crinkle Fish: You can turn an old sock into a crinkle toy by filling it with a crinkly material (packaging paper is a good option) and tying a knot to keep the material in place.
Ease Your Pet’s Anxiety
Pets who are stuck inside with their owners while they’re practicing social distancing or quarantining may experience more anxiety. Disrupting normal routines can increase anxiety or depression in pets, as can feeling restless from not having enough to do. If your pet shows signs of anxiety or depression, be sure to show them affection to help them understand that everything is alright. If your pet needs an extra boost to handle their stress, you can also try using a Pet Hemp Tincture. Many pet owners have found that hemp oils can greatly ease their furry friends’ stress and improve their quality of life.
Take Your Dog on Walks– But Keep Your Distance From Others
If you’re not quarantined and you’re just practicing social distancing as a helpful preventative measure, you can still go on walks outside with your pup. And if you can, you should, since going on walks is great for your dog’s health (and it will probably be good for you too). But when you go on a walk during this time of social distancing, remember to keep that 6 feet of recommended distance between you and anyone you may come across during your walk. If your dog tends to approach people when you’re on walks, be mindful of that by keeping them on a shorter leash or staying farther away from others when dog walking.
Train for Indoor Bathroom Breaks if Needed
If you’re showing symptoms of or have tested positive for COVID-19, you need to go into self-isolation and stay inside your home at all times (unless you need to seek medical care). If you’re a dog owner, this can pose a problem when your pooch needs to relieve themself. If you have a fenced backyard, you may be able to let your dog run out and do their business on their own. Or, if there’s another member of your household who is well, they may be able to care for your dog and walk them outside for bathroom breaks. But what if you don’t have a fenced backyard or a loved one who can help you out? You’ll need to work on training your pup to use the bathroom indoors.
If you need to train your dog to use the bathroom indoors, one way is to act like you’re going outside, which will help your pet understand that this is an approved time to potty. Prepare in the same way you would if you were going outside (grab their leash, treats, or whatever you usually take out). Then, walk your dog over to the designated potty area, which you could line with newspapers, pee pads, or even fake grass or sod. If your pet doesn’t go right away, just take a break and return to your normal at-home activities. Then, try again when your pet shows signs that they need to go. Remember to practice good hygiene and cleaning habits when you clean up after your pet.
Limit Interaction With Your Pet if You Have the Coronavirus
There’s no evidence that companion animals can catch or transmit COVID-19. However, since this disease is so new, there also isn’t hard evidence that pets are completely safe from the coronavirus. So, to keep your pets safe, the CDC recommends that pet owners who are infected with COVID-19 be cautious and do their best to restrict contact with their pets. If possible, the CDC recommends having a healthy household member, family member, or friend care for your pet while you are sick. If that’s not possible, the CDC recommends trying to limit doing things like petting, snuggling, or kissing your pet as best you can in order to keep your pet as safe as possible.
To learn more about the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for pet owners during the coronavirus crisis, click here. To stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 developments, visit the CDC COVID-19 page or the World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Disease 2019 page.