During this Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are finding Social Distancing a challenge, but it would be twice as hard if we didn’t have our beloved pets with us. They help us to manage stress, make us laugh, get us moving, and are great listeners. Let’s use this time we have in positive ways.
Our pets find routine comforting, so if your dog usually gets a walk in the morning and another one after you come home in the afternoon, try and keep to that schedule. That doesn’t mean you can’t add one after lunch, exercise is great for everyone (the more exercise, the better for all of us), but keep the regular “routine” going as much as possible, it’s less stressful for your pet.
With everyone at home, your cat may be missing nap times. So, if your cat seems grumpy or is hiding, be sure to offer him some space. Try finding a private room he can relax in, or a bed in the sunshine away from the action. One of these days, we’re all going to get back to our former lives – more or less – which means if your pet is usually left home alone while you work be sure to leave them alone now and again while we are all at home. We don’t want your pet to stress out when we change our routines again.
Make sure you stick to feeding routines too, nothing is more discombobulating to our pets than having their feeding times change!
Some of our pets may be getting more exercise and playtime with their pet parents home all day, while others that usually go to dog parks, doggie daycare, or have regular pet sitter visits may be getting less activity. If your pooch is missing the dog park, try and take her on a few extra walks each day. That exercise is good for both of you. Be sure your walks are a mix of walking and sniffing; both activities use a lot of energy and result in a tired dog.
Although cats are often a bit more independent than dogs, they will benefit from extra playtime and some cuddling too.
This is an excellent time to bond more deeply with our pets since we benefit from a strong relationship as much as our pets do. Don’t forget we are still dog walking and are happy to do no contact walk pick up and drop off for your dog.
Both inside and outside games will relieve some of the stress and boredom both you and your pets may feel from time to time, so if you have a safe area, play catch or toss a frisbee for your dog. There are a lot of inside games that use up mental and physical energy too.
Find it is a favorite game for many dogs. Make the game easy in the beginning, until they get the hang of it. Toss a treat and say, “find it.”
When your dog gets the treat, let him know he did it right! Then let him watch you while you put the treat farther away. If your dog won’t sit and stay, have someone hold him (this break is a great time to do some training too). Then tell him to find it. Keep moving the treat farther away until it’s around a corner. If your pooch has trouble with that one, help him a little and tell them how smart he is when he finds it. Soon your dog may be hunting through the house for hidden treats; it’s a fun game for everyone.
A box or bag is an excellent game for both cats and dogs. Hide some treats in the box or bag and tell your pet to find them (keep an eye on him to be sure he doesn’t eat the bag or box). Your cat may take a snooze in the box when the game is over!
Work From Home
For those of you working at home, you may have noticed that your pet often behaves like a 2-year-old when they want some attention. Just start a video conference and bingo, the dog begins to bark or the cat lounges on the keyboard. We may think our pet crashing a video conference is adorable, but as hard as it is to believe, not everyone finds it as endearing as we do. If you don’t have the luxury of a private office where you can close the door, then the best bet is to be prepared.
Dogs can often be distracted with a frozen Kong toy or marrow bone. Defrost the bone, or fill the Kong with kibble, yogurt, or peanut butter and give it to them just before your video call. This can keep Fido busy for a good half hour. Your cat may be able to entertain themselves with a bag or box that has some special treats in it. If you’ve got a puppy or a kitten, all bets are off, and it may be wise to ask a family member to watch them. You could schedule a walk or playtime with us if it’s an important call. Just let us know!
Let’s enjoy the together time with our pets. You’ll probably miss it when it’s over! Once we are no longer social distancing, and back to normal, if you feel you need it, in addition to your regular walks, we will likely offer quick check in visits to assist in the seperation anxiety your pup may likely experience.