Covid 19, Canines and You
Updated: Apr 15
How to make informed choices and considerations for your canine companion while you are spending more time at home.
First of all, this is completely unprecedented times. Information, policies, and considerations are constantly shifting so it is crucial to stay up to date especially with your local most trusted news source. So make sure you are staying current on your information to make the best decisions for you and your pack. As of right now when I am writing this there is no evidence that humans can transfer the coronavirus to their companion animals or transmit the virus through companion animals. “Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare,” the World Organisation for Animal Health has said.
So you are spending either more time at home or ALL of your time at home, depending on your current state recommendations your access to services and environments which support you may be coming. I fear further restrictions may be coming so far now there are crucial considerations to be making. So it is essential that you make your game plan!
Prioritize: Food, Medications, Scheduled Appointments, Physical and Mental Well-being.
1. Prepare for lockdown, at some point travel could be heavily restricted so you need to make sure you have all the food, medications, equipment and well... toys and treats you will need to get you through any restrictions that come to be. I want to highly encourage you to SHOP LOCAL. While everyone is scrambling to have Chewy and Amazon deliver all their pet supplies thinking it means they are actively practicing social distancing and limiting their exposure, they are causing more people to work in big warehouses, touching items that have gone through a lot of hands although it difficult for coronavirus to survive on a packaged item it is not impossible and some USPS workers have reportedly tested positive contains arguably as much risk as you running out to the store. But most importantly, small businesses are likely to suffer greatly, big chains will be fine without you. Small businesses are not only a wonderful and in my opinion essential part of our communities but they are owned and operated by members of our community. If they fail, we all fail. The other day I found my local small pet shop had online purchasing and let me buy my food and pull up and they even had a member of their team bring it out to me because my baby was asleep in the car. Click here for some more of my soapbox and as always, cute dogs.
2. Check your pet's medications and schedule for vaccinations and other health screenings. If you have a big bag of supplies you will not worry if things get more challenging. Buy way more than you need, stock up and have your vet look at your pet's profile to see if they need anything in the next month or two that you could do now.
3. If you are traveling or in a high-risk area, make sure you have some support people and back up plans if you cannot get to them or if you cannot leave for some reason.
4. Avoid the dog park, not only because it is putting yourself at risk but it's not an amazing thing to do with your dogs. Choose walks, playtime and exploration over group meet-ups and gathering places. Dog boarding facilities and daycares would be good to avoid in non-essential. Go explore the tall grass next to the public park, find nearby hikes and think about connecting with your dog and nature as a way to relive feeling isolated and following the same anxiety-inducing habits. Click here for ideas.
5. Consider your pet's well being. More active owners may find they are restricted from their normal pet-related exercises and those who don't typically do much with their dogs may find more opportunities to interact while staying home. If you need some guidance and advice for trying to "work at home" with your dog there check out this great article from Karen London on the bark.com, click here.
6. Training and enrichment activities are key! This is a great time to improve your communication, interrupt undesirable habits and address relationship aspects with your companion animals that you previously couldn't find time to deal with. Click here for a simple feeding enrichment idea.
7. Feeding is essential. They say variety is the spice of life. I tend to agree but so many pet guardians approach food for companion animals in a thoughtless manner. If you feed the same dry food daily, consider adding lightly cooked/steamed veggies, full-fat greek yogurt, pumpkin, wet food or a dehydrated raw food topper a few times a week to mix things up. Bowls are boring, grab a treat bag and hand-feed your dog on walks or during activities. Puzzles and enrichment feeders are great ways to make feeding time more interactive.
For more ideas, send me an email and I can give you some D.I.Y. dog training videos and concepts to begin working on in your home. Stay safe, stay informed and more than anything, make the most of this time with your family and chosen companions. You can help each other get through this! Please take care.