Even if you companion animal stays inside the house all the time, a shelter in place will likely affect your pet in various ways.
First of all, your pet's routine is likely to be interrupted simply because family members are now home all day, which may cause them to become stressed.
In addition, since dogs, cats and other companion animals rely on humans to meet most of their needs, humans need to brainstorm ways to ensure continued care during these days of restricted outdoor movement.
With that in mind, RestoraPet, a pet health supplement that restores wellness in older pets experiencing age-related decline and boosts the health and well-being of younger pets, compiled 10 tips to help pet owners "navigate these challenging times."
These tips, which includes ways to care for your pets need should you become sick, include:
• Ensure adequate pet-care supply – Pet owners should have enough food, supplements, medications, and any other pet-care products needed to last pets at least two weeks and, ideally, four weeks.
• Have a contingency plan – Identify someone who can take care of the pets in the event you no longer can. Be sure to inform them of any special care your pet requires. When it comes to medication, provide specific and detailed directions about dosing and administration.
Find indoor games to help pets exercise – It's important to engage pets physically and mentally while indoors. Consider playing "keep away," get pets to chase laser pointers, call dogs back and forth through the house with treats, blow bubbles for them to chase, play hide and seek or purchase puzzle toys for them.
Pet owners can also encourage dogs to forage for food, set up an indoor agility course, and play “find the toy or treat.”
• Make an indoor or backyard potty – Having a stash of pee pads in the house may prove useful, if you and your dog don’t want to go outdoors. Also, consider making a potty for your dog in the backyard by bordering off an area of the yard.
• Do not overfeed – While more and more Americans are forced to stay home and self-isolate, it is easier than ever to stress eat during this time without realizing it — and even overfeed pets as well.
. According to a recent Pet Obesity Prevention survey, nearly 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs are considered overweight or obese, which can lead to health problems.
• Develop a schedule – Many pets, like people, are comforted by routines. As many of pet owners find their daily routines disrupted, it’s important to develop new rituals and routines to help give pets, and their humans, much needed structure.
Continue to feed them and walk them on a similar schedule, if possible, or develop new indoor routines to replace the missing rituals.
• Quarantine yourself from pets – If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or suspect that you may be positive, it remains unclear whether a pet contract COVID-19 or become a vector for passing it, so steer clear of pets and other humans in your household during this time.
If you cannot find someone else to care for your pet, continue providing care yourself, but limit contact with them as much as possible. Try not to pet them but, if you must, wash your hands both before and after touching your pet.
Do not kiss them or snuggle with them, and wear a face mask around them. Once you get better and the quarantine has passed, you can give your pet extra love and snuggles to make up for the couple of weeks apart.
• Plan for medical emergencies – If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or suspect that you may be positive, and your pet becomes sick or experiences an emergency that requires veterinary attention and no one else can take them to a vet or animal hospital, pet owners should call ahead to inform the vet of the situation.
• Have updated medical records – If worse comes to worst, you may have to board your pet to keep him or her safe. For this reason, it is a good idea to ensure every pet is up to date on his or her vaccines. Also, make sure pets are microchipped and that their records are up to date.
• Stay calm – Since pets pick up on our nervous energy, the last thing you want to do is stress them out in a way that causes them to act out, further perpetuating your own anxiety. Do some deep breathing, pet them calmly, and make sure to give them your full, undivided attention at least 15 minutes per day, to soothe both them and yourself.