Nobody anticipated a new year and new decade starting out so badly—with the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has thrown daily life into turmoil, for you and your pet, and sticking to a normal routine can be tough. But, a regular schedule not only keeps your mind off your troubles, but also reduces stress and anxiety in your pet, in addition to preventing mishaps while you’re distracted. You may be in a frenzy, caring for your family, and worrying about friends and loved ones, but you can avert accidents at home, by following our tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy while quarantined.
#1: Create your pet’s personal supply hoard
Fortunately, you don’t need to stock up on toilet paper for your pet, but you do need to load up on food, treats, and litter. Unfortunately, many food manufacturers are experiencing shortages or delayed shipping, and you may not be able to find your pet’s regular diet, but avoid switching to something completely different, as she will likely develop diarrhea from an abrupt diet change. Instead, stick with a product in the same brand that has similar ingredients and nutritional requirements.
Also, don’t forget your pet’s medications. Fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites aren’t worried about a pandemic, and are still on the prowl for their next meal, so ensure you have plenty of parasite prevention to keep your pet safe. If your pet’s prescriptions are running low, call us for refills before you run out.
#2: Gear up with a pet first aid kit
Your normal first aid kit will contain plenty of supplies that can be used on your pet in an emergency, but check that the following items are also included:
- Bandage supplies
- Sterile saline
- Antibiotic ointment
- Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Activated charcoal
- Large syringes, without needles, for wound flushing
- Benadryl with appropriate dosing instructions
Once your kit is ready for any situation, brush up on typical first aid procedures that will stabilize your pet until you can reach a veterinarian. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a great resource to help pet owners provide life-saving first aid care during an emergency.
#3: Provide appropriate mental enrichment for your pet
Everyone is coming down with a case of cabin fever during quarantine, your pet included. Ward off boredom by offering a variety of mental enrichment activities, such as:
- Food puzzles — Load up a food puzzle with a tasty treat, freezing canned food for a longer-lasting snack
- New skills — Learn how to clicker-train your pet, then teach her fun new skills and tricks
- Natural exercise — Create games that cater to your pet’s natural instincts, like stalking and pouncing activities for cats, and sniffing exercises for dogs
- New toys — Rotate your pet’s toys, leaving only a few out at a time, which keeps them fresh and interesting
#4: Stick to a regular exercise routine
We’ve all heard the jokes about people gaining weight during quarantine, but don’t forget that your pet is likely less active, too, and may also put on a few extra pounds. Although you can’t visit the dog park, pet store, or town square to walk your pooch, plenty of exercises can be performed at home. Try the following:
- Agility course — Create a course out of furniture and household items, luring your pet around the obstacles with a treat or toy
- Bird of a feather — Entice your pet to play with a feather wand, or realistic toy
- Lookouts — Offer your cat more climbing towers and lookout perches, to encourage climbing
- Hidden trails — Find a secluded trail to explore with your dog
#5: Keep your pet away from toxic lawn and garden chemicals
Since you’re stuck at home, you are noticing your lawn and garden need attention, and with spring fast approaching, there’s no better time to spruce things up. While digging out fertilizers, herbicides, and other chemicals from the garden shed, keep your pet well away. Many of these products have specific instructions regarding safe use around pets, so ensure you follow them to the letter, to avoid toxic exposure.
#6: Deny your pet’s help with home improvement projects
Once your home is looking beautiful outside, with a bright green yard and blooming flowers, you may decide to tackle indoor projects. Many people are investing their quarantine time in home repair or improvement projects that have been on their to-do list for ages. While breaking out the power tools, paint, and small bits and pieces, like nails and screws, confine your pet out of harm’s way. It takes only a second for an accident to occur.
#7: Keep extra paws out of the kitchen
With closed restaurants, you’re spending more time in the kitchen, trying your hand at creating tasty new dishes. When whipping up a snack, meal, or dessert, ensure your furry pal can’t get her paws on the following items, which are all toxic to pets:
- Grapes and raisins
- Onions and garlic
- Unbaked yeast dough
Instead, make your four-legged companion her own pet-friendly treats with recipes you can find online.
#8: Contact our hospital if your pet requires care during quarantine
If your pet requires care in the midst of a quarantine order, you may be worried about leaving your home, and potentially exposing yourself, and your family, to the novel coronavirus. Rest assured that the entire Loving Family Animal Hospital team is taking excessive precautions to ensure your safety, and our community’s health, while providing our typical high standard of care.
We do ask that you reschedule nonessential services, such as nail trims and wellness visits, to minimize potential disease transmission and preserve crucial medical supplies but, as always, we will be here to care for your pet if she falls ill or is injured. We also ask that you give us a call before heading to our hospital, to discuss our most current protocols.