By now, we’ve learned how to cope with the new “normal” of living during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, times are still tough, and it can be difficult to focus on increasing happiness and promoting health during quarantine, when you’re concerned with the safety of your family and friends. By following our tips, you will not only ensure your pet’s continued happiness and well-being, but also boost your mood during such stressful times, by playing and caring for your furry pal.
#1: Keep your pet well-stocked with necessities
Stocking up on supplies is the current norm, and your pet will need her own stash of goodies, including food, treats, litter, and medications, to ensure she is always cared for during the coronavirus crisis. Many pet owners are reporting shortages of their pet’s regular diet, as popular brands fly off the shelves as quickly as toilet paper. Online pet marketplaces are displaying out-of-stock messages and shipping delays, which may create a problem if your pet is running low on food, so purchase additional supplies well in advance, if possible. If you do need to change your furry pal’s food to one in stock, slowly switch her over to the new food before her regular diet completely runs out, to ensure she doesn’t experience gastrointestinal upset.
Fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites aren’t following stay-at-home orders, and will still be searching for your pet for their next meal, so ensure you’re also well-stocked with parasite preventives. If your pet also needs a medication refill, check out Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital’s online pharmacy for easy shipping straight to your door, eliminating the need to leave your home.
#2: Cater to your pet’s mental enrichment needs
At this point, the entire family is likely bored from being cooped up at home. Use this time to develop a stronger bond with your pet through mentally stimulating activities, which will also help ward off boredom-related problem behaviors. Occupy your pet’s mind with the following:
- Puzzles — Devise food puzzles to encourage your pet to work for her meal. Freeze a stuffed Kong, create a homemade snuffle mat, or design a treat box with crumpled paper and a cardboard box.
- Tricks — Learn how to clicker train your pet, and then see what new tricks your pet can come up with during a training session.
- Games — Create activities that are designed to let your pet display natural behaviors, such as sniffing, stalking, pouncing, or digging.
Like children, bored pets get into trouble, so ensure you keep your pet entertained, despite limited options. You can offer unique games and activities simply by rotating toys to keep playtime fresh and interesting, or search online for intriguing games geared toward your pet’s play style.
#3: Ensure your pet receives plenty of exercise
Although a romp in the dog park with your pooch’s favorite canine buddies is off-limits, your furry friend still needs daily exercise. Take an invigorating hike down a trail you’ve never explored, or play a simple game of fetch in your backyard. For your cat, offer plenty of climbing towers and lofty perches to satisfy her need to survey her domain, while enticing her to get up and get moving. Regular exercise not only keeps your pet’s trim figure intact, but also releases stress-relieving endorphins, which are critical for a mood boost during these troubling times.
#4: Contact our hospital for urgent pet care
Many businesses are closed, or have reduced hours or staff, while following stay-at-home orders. Fortunately, veterinary services are considered essential, and we are open for all your pet’s health care needs. If your pet falls ill or is injured, the Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital team is here to provide our usual high quality of care for your furry friend. We understand emergencies can happen at any time, and require urgent care. In such a situation, follow the steps outlined in our emergency care section regarding specific pet emergencies, to stabilize your pet before rushing her to our hospital.
If you notice vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, lethargy, or any other abnormality in your pet’s behavior, contact us for an appointment, and our most current policies.