From the way we live and work, to the way we educate our children, the COVID-19 outbreak has changed our lives forever. No one has been immune to the outbreak’s effects, not even our pets. Overnight, our dogs and cats have been forced to cope with our increasing presence at home, new routines, new joys, and new challenges. While our pets are surely enjoying the extra love and company, many pet owners are struggling to balance work, school, pet ownership, and other daily responsibilities. If that sounds like you, here are some ways you can help manage your dogs and cats during the pandemic.
Stick to your routine as much as possible
According to Pet Coach, our dogs thrive on routine. A daily routine reduces anxiety, makes housetraining and obedience training easier, and keeps your pet at a healthy weight. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has thrown many of us off balance, disrupting our routines and our way of life. This disruption can lead to anxiety, stress, depression, weight, gain, and fur loss in our dogs. For this reason, it’s important to try and stick to your usual routine as much as possible. While you won’t be coming and going as usual, try to follow the same sleep and feeding schedule for your pets. Additionally, be sure to incorporate daily exercise, play time, and bonding time as usual in order to keep them both happy and healthy.
Stick to your training
Sticking to a routine also means making time for training each day. Brush up on some old tricks or use the extra time you have to work on some new ones. Daily training is the perfect way to keep your dog sharp and provides some much needed stimulation. If you’re struggling with obedience training, see how we can help.
Find ways to keep them busy and create space
Just like our family members are bound to drive us bonkers from time to time, you might be surprised to discover that your pet’s constant presence is a bit suffocating. In order to create some much needed space and allow you to work, learn, and live as close to normal as possible, find creative ways to keep your pet busy. Create puzzle toys, snuffle mats, or stuff a Kong. You can also try keeping your work space separate or pet free. Give them time to run and explore outside. Remember that a tired dog is a well behaved dog.
Make your life easy
While many of us are unsure how long quarantine measures are bound to last, make your life easier and keep yourself stocked up on pet essentials. Schedule deliveries for food, treats, medications or more and stock up on necessary supplies when you can. If you’re lucky enough to still have a source of income, consider donating food, supplies, or money to those who aren’t so fortunate.
Prepare your dog for the return to normalcy
The good news is that eventually, your dog will get used to your new normal. They’ll establish a new routine and for the most part, be pretty glad that you’re home. But what happens once we must return to work again? Will our dogs be stressed or depressed? Are they going to experience separation anxiety?
While none of us know the answer to any of these questions just yet, it’s best to prepare your dog for your eventual departure. Be sure to schedule times each day where your dog is alone. Go on walks, for a drive, or make your trips to the store for your essential items. Remember to never make a fuss as you come and go. Finally, if you have a separate home office, try giving yourself a few hours without the dog at your side each day
Enjoy the extra time while you have it
It’s not often that we get to slow down and just enjoy life with those we love-our pets included! During these troubled times, be sure to make the most of the time you have with your four legged friends while you have it. Set aside time to do some of their favorite things each day. Go for longer walks, play outdoors, explore with them, and spend some time strengthening your bond and reassuring them how much they mean to you. Our situation might not be ideal, but this time together is likely to mean the world to your dog.