As people around the world are counting days for the lockdown and the threat of the pandemic to be over, it seems that their pets are having the happiest time ever. After all, their beloved humans are working and studying at home all day, and spending more time with them than ever. In fact, have you heard about Rolo, the Dachshund who sprained his tail from wagging too much because he was happy to see everyone home?
As the pets curl up in windows, on laps, and under desks to watch their humans work from home, they also trust us to take good care of them. The pets are nothing less than family for us. So, we want to offer them the best possible care too in this ongoing COVID-19 situation.
But, how to safeguard the pets during COVID? How much are they under at present? Are there any changes to be brought in their daily routine? Read on to find the answers to all these questions and more.
Cans cats and dogs get infected by COVID-19?
A couple of cats and dogs have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus after being in close contact with people who were infected by this virus. Going by the reports of American Veterinary Medicine Association, there is no evidence at present that suggests pets can spread the virus.
However, information about the effects of the virus in the animals is yet to be uncovered completely. So, if you are feeling sick, you should immediately limit contacts with the pets. Regardless of whether you are healthy or sick, following the basic rules of hygiene while caring and handling the pets is of utmost importance. It includes thoroughly washing your hands after and before touching their toys, supplies, and food.
It is delightful to receive kisses from our little furry buddies, but during this time, it is best to not kiss them or allow them to lick or kiss your face. In fact, try to keep them from licking other pets too. Do not let the pets share food, and have separate bowls to feed them.
Basic tips to follow when taking pets outside
Ideally, you should keep your pets indoors as much as possible to stop them from interacting with other people or animals. But, pets tend to get too restless if you coup them up inside home for days at a stretch. Taking them out for a walk becomes unavoidable after a time.
However, until the threat of the virus is over, you will have to be prepared to treat the pets just as you would treat the other members of your family for protecting them from catching the infection.
So, here are a few basic tips you can keep in mind when taking your pets out for a walk.
- Don’t let your pet interact with other animals or people outside your household
- Put a leash on your dog while walking, and maintain at least two meters (or six feet) distance from other animals and people
- Do not visit public places like parks where maybe quite a number of people and their pets have come to walk
- Shorten the duration of your walk and do not take your pets too far from the house
- Wash your hands for twenty seconds before and after taking the walk with your pets
- Wipe down the paws of your pet after you come back from the walk
Though only a small number of animals in the world have reportedly been infected by the virus, it is still true that they get the virus when in contact with an infected person. Contact your vet if your pet feels sick or you have any questions about the health of your pet.
The importance of taking care of your health
Don’t think that physical and mental stress can only affect you during these tough times. In fact, studies suggest that pets can mirror the stress of their owners. So, taking care of your own physical and mental health should also be a priority, as you stay at home during this lockdown.
Pets respond the best to confident, patient, and calm attitudes of their owners. Try to keep up a happy face in front of them, and make them get lots of exercise to keep their body and mind active. We will get into more on that in the next section.
Keeps pets physically and mentally healthy at home
If you have dogs, you can throw a ball in the backyard or clear out some space in the room for that purpose. Taking a walk with them is also okay as long as you keep the aforementioned tips in mind.
If you don’t have a backyard or a garden to play with your dog, you can set up play areas in the house. Play hide-and-seek with the doggo or create an obstacle course for him to navigate. Keep in your mind that your pet should have the physical ability to partake in these activities because the idea is not to exhaust him.
As for the brain workout, you can try teaching new tricks or reinforce the old ones that your pets have already mastered. If you have a trainer for your dogs, then make sure to call him up and take suggestions about teaching and reinforcing behaviors.
Now, let’s discuss the workout routine for cats because they need some exercise too.
- Put a ping pong ball or a cat toy in a big cardboard box. Let the cats chase and move it around inside.
- Put treats in cat towers to make your cats climb and play.
- Take a toy wand and tie a feather at one end to wriggle it in front of the cat.
- Create an obstacle course for the kitty with things to jump over and tunnels to crawl out of.
You can try all of these or any combination of these ideas to make a great workout routine for your cat.
You can also use this time to help the pets overcome their phobias and become more comfortable with the activities that they find overwhelming in general, such as cleaning their ears, clipping the nails, and brushing the teeth.
Staying healthy around your pets
It seems evident so far that the risk of spreading COVID to people through animals is almost zero. But, you should not forget that all animals can have germs that might make people seriously ill. So, it is a good idea to always practice good hygiene around your beloved pets.
- Wash your hands for twenty seconds after handling the wastes or the dishes of your pets
- Clean up after the pets properly in order to maintain good hygiene
- Keep in mind that children who are five-years-old and younger, people who are 65-years-old and older, and people with weak immune systems and pre-existing conditions like hypertension and breathing problems, are more likely to fall sick from the germs carried by some animals.
Safeguarding your pets from ticks and fleas
Just because your pets are spending most of their time home does not mean that they can’t get fleas or ticks. You should call your vet to see the options you have for their treatment. Many vets are providing pickup facilities for tick and flea medicine, while limiting personal contact. Check to see if you can arrange something like that in your area.
In the meanwhile, you can follow the given tips to keep ticks and fleas away from your pets:
1. Use only vet-approved products: You should ask your vet about the right products to use to get rid of ticks and fleas on your pet. Read the label carefully and research a product well before applying it on your pet. Clear out any doubts that you have from your vet.
2. Regularly inspect pets for ticks: Check your pets for ticks every time they come back from a walk. Check the armpits, ears, and skin for ticks, and pay more attention to the areas where the fur is sparse or thin. The best way to keep your pet healthy is to eliminate any tick right away.
3. Do not use canine products on cats: Some tick and flea preventives are made only for dogs, and their composition might be toxic to the cats. It might lead to severe reaction in cats leading to serious illness or allergies. The label will state clearly about the species that it’s meant for. You should use it only for that animal.
4. Make sure the pets are groomed regularly: Grooming is an amazing way to spend some good time with the pets during this lockdown. In fact, if you have older children in the house, then this is also the time to train them about pet grooming. It will also help you notice any fleas and ticks that might be hiding under the hair coat of your pets.
5. Clean the backyard or garden: You should not just maintain a clean house, but also a well-maintained yard, to keep the ticks away. Ticks love high grasses, so mow the lawn regularly. Fleas love shady, moist, warm areas with debris. Clipping from the yard, raking leaves, and so on will take away their hiding and breeding places.
Bonus Tip: Keeping the pets from interrupting you
As mentioned earlier, pets love the fact that their humans are home all the time now, but that doesn’t mean your little furry friend doesn’t end up disrupting your work.
The dog keeps barking during Skype calls, the cat walks over the keyboard all the time, and both of them keep tugging at your arm to get your attention. Your new coworkers aren’t really cooperative, right?
A good way to prevent distractions is to give enough food, water, and exercise to your pets before starting to work. Make a cozy zone for the pet as you work, and keep this zone in a space from where your pets cannot interfere with your online conferences and video calls.
Your pet has to be kept safe as you get busy with work. So, remove any item that can hurt the pets, like stacks of folders on the window sill or electrical wires. Recognize and eliminate any sound from the gadgets you are using that might trigger a stress response in the pets, such as the noise from the printer or the ping from incoming emails.
Studies have proven for a long time that having pets comes with multiple health benefits, like lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. With just these simple adjustments, you can easily focus on your work while having your pet near you.
Tips for grooming the pets during COVID
If you have been used to taking the pets to salons for their haircuts, grooming, and the likes, then you might be in quite a fix due to the ongoing lockdown situation. However, with the ongoing situation, grooming the pets properly has become even more important to take care of their health.
It is time to take up the responsibility of grooming your pets yourself, and we have a few ideas here that will help you in doing that:
- Give your pet a bath at least once a week, and take toys with you to make the bath time fun. Use cotton to secure their ears while giving them a bath. Do not use anything other than pet shampoo to wash them.
- You can trim your pets’ fur a bit, but be very careful while trimming near their sensitive areas
- Nail clipping might lead to injuries, if you have no prior experience in doing that. A better idea is to go for nail filling to trim their nails.
The final piece of advice would be to play and spend as much time as you can with your furry buddy. It will uplift your mood and keep them super happy. After all, you will never again get to spend so much time with your pets once the lockdown ends. So, make the most of this time!
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