Pet Care during Lockdown: Parenting your Pet Dog or Cat during the COVID-19 Curfew
Lockdowns or curfews can be enforced due to many reasons – war, riots, or even pandemics like the COVID-19. While they do cause inconvenience and disruption of daily life, sometimes they are the only reasonable solution to the problem.
As we try to suppress the rapid spread of COVID-19, and countries lock down one after the other, we must do our best to look after and provide for our family members; humans, canine or feline.
In this article, we discuss how you can ensure your pets’ basic needs are looked after, they are kept healthy, and how you can make the best of this time together.
Managing Your Pet’s Basic Needs during Lockdown
As with other members of your family, food, sanitation, and medicine make up the most important part of your pet’s necessities.
We hope you’ve stocked up your pet’s food for at least a few weeks. If not, it may still not be too late to make a trip to the nearest pet store or call your pet food provider.
However, it’s likely that limited supplies like pet food may eventually run out. When that happens, you can easily cook up some simple meals for your pet at home. Try to keep them as balanced as possible, but don’t let the scarcity of ingredients pull you down. While your dawgie can make do with a vegetarian meal or two, try keeping your cat’s diet meat-based. If sourcing chicken or meat becomes too difficult, eggs are an option too.
Your pets can eat mostly everything you can, and as long as you’re able to put something on the plate for yourself, you should be able to set a bowl up for your pet too.
Since your pet will mostly be staying home with you, their activity levels are sure to be reduced. That can leave them with smaller appetites. So make adjustments to their portion size accordingly. You don’t want to overfeed them!
The same goes for treats. We know how binging on some junk can instantly make you feel better. It’s natural to think that the same would work for your pet. However, please moderate the number of treats you feed your pet in a day. You don’t want to come out of this with an obese, or worse, a sick pet.
If your dog is used to relieving themselves outdoors, you should be able to take them out alone for a small potty-stroll twice a day. Remember to keep this walk as short as possible – ideally within your yard, garden or terrace – otherwise outside and around your house. Pick up after your pet and dispose of the poop properly in order to not cause trouble to others. This is in the best interest of your pet.
If they poop more than twice a day, or you cannot take them out, toilet-train them for potty pads indoors. They may take some time to adjust to these, but start the training as soon as possible.
Medication & Veterinary Care
Pharmacies are open usually during lockdown. However, situations can often get unpredictable. In case your pet takes any medication on a regular basis, stock them for at least a month at the first chance you get.
Even if your pet is not on any medicine in general, locate a chemist that stocks veterinary medicine and a veterinarian around you that is open during the lockdown and take their contact numbers. This is to ensure that if your pet faces any emergency health issues, you will have access to a vet and medicines.
That said, be mindful of using these resources wisely. Avoid vet visits unless you have a genuine emergency. Venturing out for trivial reasons not only stresses out the already scarce resources, but also increases the risk of community infection of COVID-19.
Managing Your Pet’s Exercise & Activity during Lockdown
As incredible as it sounds, staying home all day could be stressful for the body and mind – for both, you and your pet. Managing some amount of physical exercise or activity in a day could have therapeutic effects.
Walks are indeed the most exciting part of a dog’s day. As sad as it may be, lockdowns will affect your dawgie’s walk routine. While short potty walks can still be managed, try not to take your pet for longer walks for the safety of yourself, your family and the community at large.
When coming home from strolls, clean your pet’s paws thoroughly at the door. If your pet is used to rolling on the grass, ground, or roads, then wash your hands before and after you pet them, touch their bowls, beds, or any other accessories.
We know it is sad to take walks out from your pet’s routine, but this time calls for creativity in still incorporating activity in your pet’s life.
Giving your pet enough physical activity during the day is crucial to their well-being – physical, psychological and behavioral. If your pet is inactive, it may lead to destructive behavior, aggression, disobedience, obesity, etc.
As walks get minimal and shorter, get creative with indoor exercises. Play games that involve physical exertion like fetch, going up and down the stairs, hide and seek, etc. Or try training your dog on a treadmill. If you want to go an extra mile, try building an obstacle course for your pet. You can even let your pets swim to tire themselves out, if you have access to a pool.
Just like for humans, mental stimulation is the basis of stability in pets too. Involve your dog in some scent games, a treat treasure hunt or a puzzle toy. You could also teach them a new trick, names of their toys, or try some shape training.
Mental Stimulation helps keep your pet occupied rather than just laying around all day. This too prevents behavioral issues. At times of crisis, a well-behaved pet is more cooperative and will help you help them. If your dog is suffering from boredom, they will only add to your stress and set you back.
Managing Your Pet’s Grooming & Hygiene during Lockdown
The importance of hygiene cannot be emphasized enough, especially during the time of this epidemic. Like human members of our family, it’s essential to keep our pets groomed & clean.
While pets cannot be infected by it, they can carry the coronavirus on their body by coming in contact with it when outdoors. When in lockdown, minimize the need to take your pet out and clean their paws thoroughly before they enter the house. Depending on how often you are taking your pet out, give them a bath every 3-4 days.
Maintaining good hygiene of the family members, pets, and in and around the house is very important to avoid this virus and also other types of sickness. Bathing your pet and keeping them clean is one way to do so. While you’re at it, start incorporating a dental hygiene routine and also trimming excessively long nails.
Inspecting your pet by running your hands through their body and looking out for ticks, lumps, bumps or anything unusual is a good practice even in usual times. Keeping ticks out of your pet will keep them from falling ill.
Brush your pet thoroughly after you’ve bathed them. Brushing them regularly helps avoid painful matts, keep the natural oils flowing, maintains coat health, and helps you spot anything unusual. It also gives you some bonding time and can be a fun exercise for you both.
How to make the best of the Lockdown with your Pet?
When was the last time you spent such a long time with your pet? Lockdown has given us all an opportunity to do something constructive with them. Let’s explore how.
Prepare a Contingency Plan
While we are all locked up and safe inside our homes for now, we cannot deny the imminent threat of infection. Prepare yourself and your pet for the worst. Think of how your pet will survive in case you or your family is quarantined or hospitalized. If you’re a single pet parent, we cannot emphasize enough on the importance of this step. DawgieBowl has prepared a plan that may save your pet’s life during these testing times. Preparation is paramount!
Train and Fix Behavioral Issues in your Pet
Make the best of the lockdown by working on your pet, so they come out of this better, happier, and smarter. If you haven’t trained your pet for basic obedience, this is a good time to start doing so yourself.
If you have recognized any underlying behavioral issues in your pet, like separation anxiety, fear, aggression, territorial behavior, etc., utilize the lockdown to work on them with your pet.
Use the internet and your sense of discretion as your guide.
Staying fit and healthy is at the core of beating any disease or illness. As much as your pet needs activity, so do you. Find a way you both can share the workout time and do your bit together! Involve everyone in the family to make it even more fun. You don’t need to be doing anything hardcore, just the basics work fine! Know that keeping yourself fit and fine to look after your pet is just as important as keeping your pet fit.
Start an Instagram Page for your Pet
Ever look at your pet and see the potential in them to be an Internet sensation? And then you thought of making them an account that probably never got published or just lies inactive. Well, now is the time to let your little star shine!
Click some pictures, shoot some videos, show off those skills they’ve got. Spread some pawsitivity in these tough times. Everyone loves some dawgie love on their timelines. It is also the best way to be social, when you are social distancing.
Read to Them
Lockdowns are a great time to catch up on old hobbies. The ability to involve your pet in them just makes it even better. Dust off those books lying on the shelf and do some reading. Read out to your pet if they enjoy it. If we share all our favorite books with our loved ones, the pets shouldn’t be missing out.
Plan Movie Dates with your Pet
If you are more of a movie person and plan to Netflix your way through the lockdown, plan some movie nights with your pet and watch your favorite movies together. Make them even more special with some snacks to munch on (vegetables or fruits) and your all-time favorite dog movies. Who doesn’t love a good dawgie movie marathon?
Get to know each other
The strength of every relationship lies in how well you two know each other. Your likes, dislikes, favorite things to do, pet peeves, etc. Your pet is just as complex as you or any other human in your life. They have a distinct personality of their own beyond what the stereotypes of being a dog say. With all the time you are about to spend with them, learn to look beyond the fur and those pretty pretty eyes. Spend some time getting to know them, talk to them, and moreover, listen!
A strong, understanding relationship with your pet can enrich your life in more ways than you can think. It is also a wonderful feeling like none else. You two can come out of this as a power couple that looks after each other’s needs, and shares great communication. Jay Z and Beyonce are jealous!
Caring for the Strays during Lockdown
It is a privilege to sleep under a roof and have food on their plates during a lockdown, for both humans and dawgies. Consider your pet fortunate for being a family dog or cat that is taken care of and loved by all. Sadly, not all animals are as fortunate.
Lockdowns are a tough time for animals on the street. Not as many restaurants open mean less discarded food. This is also a difficult time for dog feeders to go about feeding strays. Do your bit to help these innocent animals out by leaving a bowl of food and water outside your door every day. This is well within the guidelines and does not require much effort.
Alternatively, you can also choose to donate to an NGO or rescue organization of your choice that helps care for and provide aid to stray animals.
We understand that lockdowns can get depressing, but one must do what they have to for the safety of our loved ones, and our kind. Stay positive and believe that like all other hardships, we will overcome this together. Practice humbling habits like gratitude to help you cope better. If nothing else works, go hug your dog!
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
DawgieBowl operates this online information and opinion blog for educational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this blog are researched from popular journals & books, online articles, and research papers. DawgieBowl does not claim ownership to the images or videos on the blog unless mentioned. Images or videos are collected from the public domain, and the rights to them lie with the photographer or copyright owner. By reading this blog or using any of the information you expressly acknowledge and understand that there are risks and limitations associated with any advice, recipes, formulas, and/or products suggested or endorsed. DawgieBowl, its parent entities, and stakeholders are not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this website, or any other site or product linked to this website, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our website or any other linked site, from downtime on the website or from any other use of this blog.
The content of this blog is NOT intended to substitute professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If your pet is sick, injured, or in need of medical attention, please contact your veterinarian or local emergency animal hospital immediately. Never disregard professional veterinary advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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