How To Take Care Of Your Pets During This Pandemic

Many are affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, even our own pets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pets should be treated like family, and they should be protected from viral infection as well. Research on the transmission of the virus is still ongoing. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that there’s no evidence yet on the transmission to people from pets. They suggested not to disinfect your pets by bathing with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, and other toxic chemicals that aren’t suitable for animals.

However, when the pet owner or the pet gets sick, medical interventions must be applied. When your pet gets sick, talk to your veterinarian about health concerns. There are veterinary clinics that have websites you can quickly check about how they can be contacted. For example, Sunny Side Veterinary Clinic has reputable performance in treatment, protection, and correction on medical problems for pets, and they have a website that you can easily visit, which is,

African American client holding Yorkshire terrier dog and vet doctor in animal hospital
African American client holding cute Yorkshire terrier dog and vet doctor in animal hospital

The risk of transmission of the virus from people to pets is still low. However, some reported incidents on a small number of pets worldwide had shown infection usually after close contact with an infected person. When pets are infected, they might get sick or have no symptoms at all. Among the sick pets, most of them had mild illness and were able to recover fully. Here are some of the precautionary ways of taking care of your pets during the pandemic:

1. Ensure Enough Pet-Care Supply

Pet owners must secure a sufficient supply of goods like food, supplements, medications, and other pet-grooming products that will last at least two weeks to a month. This will lessen the need to go out to replenish frequently the supplies you have at home. Here’s the list of the things that can be stored for a long time:

  • Food: The pandemic causes panic buying to most people, and it causes food shortage. Even online shopping is affected by the surge of demand for delivery services. Pet owners must plan ahead and ensure to have enough food supply. Don’t wait until the food supply has run out. Be sure to consume these before the expiration dates as it will be toxic to your pets if they eat expired pet food.
  • Medications: Your initial reaction in times of sickness is to check your medicine cabinet. However, we’re currently amidst a global health crisis, and procuring the essential medicines can be hard. 

Aside from your own medicines, make sure you have enough stock for your pet’s vitamins and any other medications that they regularly take. You can ask your veterinarian if you can buy in bulk some of your pet’s prescription medicines and essential supplements to lessen the need to go out of the house. A fully stocked medicine cabinet will allow you to be prepared if anything happens. 

  • Litter: Running out of pet litter can be a disaster during the pandemic. Secure supply for at least a month to avoid a messy situation. Pet litter doesn’t get spoiled and can be stored for an indefinite time. 
  • Toys: Pets who are bored tend to get in trouble by doing things to entertain themselves. When your pets get bored, it can lead to barking, digging, excessive chewing, and other disastrous behavior. If they don’t get the proper stimulation, they will quickly get bored. Therefore, consider buying your pets some interactive toys to keep them engaged and busy. 

2. Have a Contingency Plan

In case the pet owner is sick, an alternative care representative for pets should be available. It’s essential to inform them of any particular care that the pet requires. For instance, the specific and detailed instructions on the medication about the proper dosage and administration must be indicated.

However, if both of the pet owner and the pet become sick, that requires immediate medical attention. Since no one will be able to take the pet to the vet, pet owners must call ahead to inform the doctor of the situation.

3. Integrate Indoor Games for Pet Exercise

The common reasons for undesirable behavior of pets are boredom and excess energy. Some veterinarians suggest playing interactive games with pets. It’s crucial to maintain the physical and mental conditions of pets while indoors. Look for indoor games that help your pets to exercise which can include:

  • Fetching objects
  • Chasing laser pointers
  • Blowing bubbles for pet chasing
  • Hide and seek
  • Puzzle toys for pets
  • Creating a cat tree with areas to climb and jump

Furthermore, pet owners can motivate pets to forage for food by setting up agility activities and playing “find the toy or treat.”

4. Make Them Socialize With Their Surroundings

The proper socialization involves exposing your pet to various kinds of people, other animals, places, and situations without making them stressed and afraid. While being indoors, you can devote your time and effort to introducing them with your family, your other pets, or people you know that are different from your family.

Cats need a routine, and it’s best to let them know better about their current situation. There are many tips on being a pet parent that will help you manage and take care of them better. Also, some cats prefer to be alone and may be happier when they have the whole place when you’re out. You can do a trial and error on this one by giving them the space they need. 

On the other hand, dogs need a lot of walks. You can stroll with your dog while maintaining social distancing, depending on the situation of your place. Make sure to keep a distance of six feet away when walking past other people and dogs. If you can’t go outside, you can play some music or sounds of traffic, crowds and other animal noise to stimulate them with different situations.

Familiarity with the sounds of electrical appliances like vacuum cleaners is also essential for your pets to enhance their sound experiences. Dancing, singing, and clapping can be other ways to let your pet get used to these situations.

5. Don’t Overfeed

The imposed lockdown due to COVID-19 forced people to stay home and self-isolate. During this time, people resort to overeating to ease the boredom; even pets are overfed as well.

The 2018 survey on Pet Obesity Prevention showed that 59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs are categorized as overweight or obese. That’s because most pet owners are overwhelmed with food choices for their pets and not following the dietary guidelines, which can lead to health problems of the pet. Therefore, don’t spoil your pet and don’t overfeed them.

It’s important to talk to the veterinarian for advice which appropriate food that has sufficient nutritional value that you can feed your pets. If possible, feed them with the best quality of pet food in the market and set a feeding schedule for daily diet.

6. Develop a Schedule

Most pet owners and their pets are comforted by routines. When the pandemic crisis occurs, most of the daily routines are disrupted. Pets like structures and are happy when they have a consistent schedule. Try developing specific playtimes before you start your work, during lunch break, and after working for the day. You can also try doing some obedience training routines, and it’s an ideal time to do these while indoors. These activities will help them build their confidence and will significantly affect how they socialize.

Try to be consistent with the schedule as best as you can. Continue the usual routine like feeding schedule and walking while designing new indoor rituals as an alternative to the missing outdoor activities. Hence, it’s essential to create new routines to help pets exercise and to help them enjoy their day.

7. Grooming

The pandemic has forced some grooming establishments to close. It also caused some vet clinics to change their services, prioritizing animals with more severe conditions. Most pet owners resorted to DIY grooming tutorials. You can purchase grooming kits like clippers, scissors, pet shampoo, brush, comb, and other hygiene essentials.

Do a lot of research before you buy any grooming materials since some products aren’t suitable for all pets. Human shampoo isn’t ideal for pets since some compounds and ingredients can cause hair loss and skin allergies. It’s best to ask your vet before you groom your pet on your own. 

Dog taking a bath
Bathing of the yellow labrador retriever. Happiness dog taking a bubble bath.

8. Stay Calm

Pets can sense and absorb the negative energy when the pet owner is feeling stressed or anxious due to COVID-19 pandemic. The best thing to do is to stay calm and don’t panic to stress out your pets that’s causing them. You can do the following to be calm and to avoid stressing your pets as well:

  • Do some deep breathing whenever you feel overwhelmed.
  • Pet them calmly as an assurance that everything is alright.
  • Give them full attention for at least 15 minutes a day.
  • Do a routine that both of you enjoy the most.

9. Pet-Proof Your Home

It’s essential to keep your pet safe while staying at home most of the time. Make sure to keep hanging cords from blinds that can accidentally go around your pet’s neck. Clear the play area of anything hazardous and dangerous for them. Lastly, avoid having toxic plants in your homes like African violets, daffodils, and other poisonous plants since cats and dogs will be ill if they eat them.

10. Scheduled Veterinary Visits

Nowadays, veterinarians practice social distancing as well due to the pandemic. Some clinics allow you to sit in your car outside the office or in the corner of their clinic while waiting for them to bring your pet. As we all know, pets should get full vaccination, as unvaccinated pets can get illnesses and, worse, may die due to complications. 

You can consult the nearest veterinary clinic to know about what is the available core vaccines, boosters, and other essential prevention methods they have. On the other hand, some veterinary clinics offer telemedicine services if you can’t go out. It’s important to make sure that your pet’s health record is updated. 

When your pet got sick and developed symptoms of respiratory illness like runny nose, cough, teary eyes, and sneezing, set an immediate schedule for pet diagnosis, even though there’s a less probability that the symptoms are of COVID-19, it’s good to wait for the right diagnosis. 

Try not to panic and stay calm; as mentioned above, it can also stress your pets out. It’s crucial that pet owners don’t overreact and never disconnect themselves from their pets during this time.  

11. Prevent Separation Anxiety

The pandemic crisis allows us to bond more time with the pets, and it’s important to make them ready once you return to your regular work schedules. If your pets aren’t prepared, it can cause confusion and loneliness once you leave. 

While still at home, start to prepare your pet now and allow time to spend enjoyable moments alone with them. Taking walks outside without your pet is also suggested to make sure of comfortability when you’re away.

Try to create a cozy, inviting place for your pets before you leave the house. You can turn on the TV or radio for auditory and visual stimulation. Some pets love to watch TV shows featuring animals. Keeping your pet busy with interactive food-puzzles and other toys is also a method of conditioning.

However, if your pet is manifesting signs of distress, try to reach out to a behavior professional for assistance. Signs of distress may include barking, howling, whining, and scratching. Training and behaviorist interventions can prevent undesirable behaviors. Separation anxiety can be avoided when the pet owner knows how to handle these kinds of situations.

Final Thought

Pets are part of the family and should be treated with kindness and proper petting. Aside from basic needs like food and shelter, a good condition for physical and behavioral aspects must be considered too. As much as possible, keep your pet physically and mentally healthy during the pandemic by following the tips mentioned above. It can help you manage your pets without causing stress, particularly during the pandemic.

Content Sources:

Express yourself about the animals