You may be looking for ways to protect your kids, spouse and other family members while it remains necessary to quarantine due to COVID-19. But what about your cats or dogs? Like many people, you may consider them just as much a part of your family, and protecting them, too, is at the top of your list.
Give Your Pets High-Quality Nutrition
Humans, cats, dogs and other mammals require a variety of nutrients to keep their bodies, including their immune systems, functioning optimally. Without the right nutritional support, your pets may become less able to fight off infections they encounter. Carefully researching the foods, treats and supplements you give your pets is a key step in supporting their needs.
For example, be sure to check out the ingredients when giving your pet something new, and vet the company behind it. Reading ultimate pet nutrition reviews is one great way to see what others (and their pets) think of a product!
Protect Them from Potential Exposure
Because it is considered a zoonotic disease — able to pass from humans to animals and vice versa — COVID-19 could pose a potential risk to your furry family. While it is not yet clear how dangerous or deadly the disease may be for animal companions, confirmed cases among household pets have begun to surface.
Avoiding disease in the first place is every bit as important as proper nutrition. Keeping cats indoors will eliminate their contact with other animals, people or surfaces that may have the virus. Keeping dogs confined to your fenced backyard and the inside of your home will likewise minimize their risk.
Of course, not everyone has a fenced backyard for letting their dogs out, but there may still be options. Small-breed dogs, for example, could learn to use puppy pads or fake-grass boxes. Larger dogs may be able to use the toilet, with some careful training!
If your old dog can’t learn these new tricks, or you just don’t have time to teach them, another option may be shoes and a mask. Virus carriers could leave the virus behind on grass or concrete. In turn, your dog may inhale the virus while sniffing out a suitable spot to go, or may collect it on the dog’s pads (which your dog may later lick). Shoes and a mask may minimize the most likely forms of exposure.
If you do decide to use a mask, however, do so very carefully to ensure your pet can pant normally (for self-cooling) and breathe well. If you can, limit trips that require a mask to only the necessary business, not long walks and rough play.
Keep Your Pets Active and Stimulated
You may be wondering how to keep your dog physically active and mentally stimulated while cooped up at home. Don’t fret, there are some options!
Teaching your dog to walk on your treadmill, for example, may not be as hard as you think. With proper supervision and plenty of praise, along with a little enticement such as their favorite treat, dogs may even begin to look forward to treadmill time.
Alternatively, another option is calling your dog onto your rebounder between your feet, then bouncing gently. This will have your pets automatically engaging many muscles in their bodies as they work to maintain balance.
Teaching your dog different versions of “fetch” is also fun:
- Try momentarily covering your dog’s eyes, or bringing the dog to a different room, and then toss a toy in a random, somewhat hidden spot. Tell your pet to “find it,” and watch the hilarity ensue.
- Sit yourself and a household member in separate areas, and take turns calling the dog. Plenty of praise, gentle wrestling and healthy treats will keep your dog moving!
Any of the above activities can become exciting for your dog, depending on the attitude and energy you bring. Be sure to keep an eye out, though, because your itty bitty buddy might hop (uninvited) onto the treadmill or rebounder along with you next time!
Being homebound tends to change how families do “life.” Whatever ways you and your family cope with quarantine, these simple ideas may help you meet your pets’ needs and happiness, too.