This year has presented many challenges for us all. Fires, drought and a world wide health epidemic has seen us adapt in ways we never imagined to all remain safe. Those of us who are fortunate enough to own pets will have benefited in some way from our interactions with them, both physically and mentally. Throughout Covid-19, the needs of our pets have not changed. For some pets, the addition of having their owners working from home has been welcome, in fact, our pets have never had so much adoration and attention!
Although for us, adapting to new changes in our life have been challenging, our pets are somewhat oblivious to this. So just how do we care for our pet during Covid-19? Should we be changing anything? Well, the simple answer is yes, we need to. Below are some simple adjustments you can make to maintain the care of your pet and your own during Covid-19.
Maintain the Routine
In terms of habit, our pets love routine! This is most apparent at feeding and exercise times. Most owners that walk their dog at the same time each day will tell you that their dog will be ready & waiting at this time each day and in fact, most will pester their owners until they have the lead on! We know from the experts that regular exercise is good for us all, including our pets. We all benefit from being outdoors and being disconnected from technology or work. This allows our minds to re-set. Around the world, even in countries with strict lock down regulations, residents have been allowed outside to exercise themselves and their pets. For us, we should still keep our regular walkies or trips to the dog park. Always check with your local council to make sure that your local dog park is open before setting off. Pet owners need to adhere to social distancing when out with pets, even in dog parks. Choose a time when the park is quiet if you exercise your dog at the park. If you are out, ensure you have your dog on a lead to prevent them wandering off and potentially breaking social distance recommendations!
If you find it difficult to get out for a walk with your dog, often a quick trip in the car will add some interest to their day.
To treat or not to treat?
It is also important not to interrupt the feeding routine of your pet. Maintain their regular meals at the usual times. If you notice that your pet is gaining weight, try swapping them over to a special weight control food.
Although it can be hard not to treat your pet every day, limit these treats or incorporate them into some training or obedience. There are some healthy options when it comes to treats and you can normally find a selection that suit the dietary requirements you pet has.
While we all pay additional attention to cleanliness and hand hygiene, the same applies to our pets. You should always wash your hands after patting or interacting with your pet. Always pack some antibacterial wipes or hand sanitister for when you are out with your pet. This comes in handy when you’ve had to clean up after your pet. Speaking of this, always have your pet waste collection bags with you too!
Pet stores are classed as an essential service and have remained open during lock downs, this has been a welcomed decision by the Pet Industries Professional body PIAA. Supplying essential care and supplies for pet owners comes with an incredible responsibility to ensure that staff and customers can do so in a safe manner. Our store is a registered Covid Safe business and the implementations from our policy ensures that we can continue to support the needs of your pets in store as well as online.
Keep regular checkups
Most veterinary clinics will have Covid safe procedures in place that will allow you to keep on top of your regular check ups and vaccinations. It is important that these continue. Vets are classed as essential services, so if animals need vet treatment that can’t be delayed, contact your vet as you normally would. The Australian Veterinary Association released the following important points during Covid:
- There is no evidence that dogs play any role in human infection
- If you are in quarantine, please keep your pet with you. However, minimise close contact and please wash your hands before and after handling your pet or its food and water bowls.
- If you are in quarantine and your pet becomes unwell, please contact your veterinarian by phone. DO NOT attend the clinic without ringing first.
- Please do not do anything to compromise your pet’s welfare. Your veterinarian can talk to you on the phone about any concerns you may have.
Getting back to work and school
If you have spent more time than usual with your pet, when it comes time to return to work there may be some unsettling times for your pet. You can begin to prepare your pet for this prior to your return. Simple things such as leaving them in the yard alone for a few hours will make the transition a little easier. Prepare your pet with some boredom busting toys to occupy them while you are away. Introducing these early is a god idea. For dogs and cats, there are products that will ease the transition naturally.
The lickimat range is an excellent tool for situations that may be troubling for your pet. Made from non toxic rubber, the lickimat is a tool used to smear dog or cat food through. The pet spends more time licking the food out of the raised rubber nodule which in turn becomes their main focus. In fact, licking for dogs and cats releases a calming endorphine! The lickimat works well as a summertime treat when you freeze some broth or wet food in it.
There is an enormous range of boredom busting toys available that are a perfect choice when needing to occupy your pet!
Treat dispensing toys will occupy food driven dogs and cats. These are also useful to slow down pets with digestive issues or those who eat too quickly.
Remember that when you can, always include some interactive play with your pet. This can include throwing the ball for a game of fetch with your dog or playing a hunting style game using a cat dangler toy with your kitty.
Don’t fret, check with a neighbour if you are concerned, if they hear howling or notice any changes. Most pets settle and occupy much of the day sleeping. Dogs often spend 50 percent of the day sleeping, 30 percent lying around awake, and just 20 percent being active. For Cats, it’s around 15 hours a day which is deserving of the term catnapping!
Since this is a rapidly evolving situation, it is important to obtain current information from reliable and credible sources. Here are a few to keep handy
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