Gone are the days when having pets was just about our own enjoyment or just like having a hobby. Having pets is much like raising kids—it’s a huge responsibility, and one that we need to take seriously. Like having children, we need to find ways to keep our pets as safe, healthy, and happy as possible—especially during the time of COVID-19. Here are some steps we can take to ensure that our pets are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy during this period of intermittent lockdowns.
Stock up on their essential needs
In the same way that we need to keep our pantries and shelves stocked up for our essential needs, we also need to stock up on our fur babies’ basic needs. Doing so will not only keep your pets fed and healthy for a while, but it will also prevent you from going to the supermarket too many times instead of staying home.
For food, make sure you have enough to last your pets for at least a month before you have to stock up again. For cats, make sure to choose a cat litter that can last you longer than regular litter. If your pets are also being medicated for whatever reason, your supply of meds should last at least a month as well. The same rule of thumb applies to anti-parasite treatments, shampoos, and soaps.
Invest in your yard
While there’s no rule that outlaws dog-walking, make sure to avoid crowded dog parks should you choose to do so. At the same time, now may be the perfect time to make some upgrades to your yard or turn it into the landscaped garden of your dreams so that your pets can roam around freely without you having to walk them outside.
If you have a fairly spacious background, consider planting grass and different types of bushes and flowers. To keep your pets safe, install a metal fence for privacy and security. You can also have a deck or a patio installed to allow you and your family to get some fresh air during this lockdown period.
Keep them engaged with toys and regular playtime
If your pets are the type who enjoyed the great outdoors and were used to being walked outside daily, you need to develop new and fun activities that will keep them engaged during lockdown periods. Even indoor dogs and cats get restless whenever they are cooped up for a long period.
A good way to re-purpose your old boxes is by building cardboard tunnels to help them enjoy some exercise. You can also try hiding treats in different parts of the house and have your pet try to look for them. Even doing something as simple as rolling around the floor and giving them some extra hugs and cuddles can go a long way in helping cheer them up whenever you have to self-isolate or quarantine.
Find ways to keep them entertained by themselves, especially since you won’t always have the time to give them your 100 percent attention 24/7. Keep their minds engaged with some puzzles—some kinds were created specifically for dogs and cats. Many of those puzzles have treats inside of them when your pet figures it out, giving them a sweet or savory reward for their hard work.
Stay on top of their health and moods
Taking your pet to the vet is still an essential activity. Make sure to bring your pet to the vet at least twice a year, even if they’re not sick. As a pet owner, it helps to be on top of how your pet’s physical health is doing because you can identify minor issues in their health before they become bigger problems later on. It will also help lift your anxiety during lockdown periods because you would be on top of their condition without having to worry that you can’t leave the house. Observe the shift in their moods and give them attention according to their emotional and social needs.
Take safety precautions
Experts say that pets can contract COVID-19 through human-to-pet transmission, but it’s very rare or improbable. But even then, it can’t hurt to take every safety precaution we can to ensure that our pets are safe from the virus. If you’re sick or feeling certain symptoms, make sure to self-isolate right away and avoid your pets at all costs. Ask someone else to babysit them instead while you recuperate.
Having pets is a big responsibility, and we owe it to them to do what we can to keep them happy, healthy, and safe during the COVID-19 crisis. You can do it, fur mom/dad!