The world is still a different place, even though here in New Zealand the threat of COVID-19 appears to be calming.
This means restrictions on movement and activities for humans. But what does it mean for our pets?
Changing your Routine with Pets
Just as our routines have changed, so too have those of our pets. We are home more, and we might be stressed or on edge. Our animals can be stressed by changes in routine too, so it is vital to keep as close as we can to our regular routines.
Some anxious dogs and cats may find the extra noise and people continuously at home stressful. Make sure that your animals have places to retreat to if needed, while still having water, litter trays and food easily accessible.
Be Careful to Not Over Treat
It can be tempting to over treat our furry friends during this time as we spend more time with them, especially since the whole family is likely to be at home. But there are still ways to make treats go the distance without over treating. Why not:
- Hide some around the house
- Put some into a toy
- Get the kids to teach them some new tricks
Make them work for it and the pleasure it brings to you by rewarding them afterwards.
Exercising with Pets during COVID
Dogs can still be walked; however, the advice is stick to your local area. Dogs should not be allowed to come into close contact with other people or dogs, so we'd suggest you try to avoid dog parks.
A daily walk around the local streets will be good – physically & mentally, for both you & your dog.
If you are keen to start a new exercise regime with your dog as a way for you both to get out of the house, ensure your pet is up to it and increase intensity slowly, allowing their fitness to increase as yours does. Keep in mind your pet’s age and any sore/arthritic joints which could make an activity like this unpleasant for them.
Hygiene, Grooming and Feeding your Pets
Your pet’s health needs do not stop because of a pandemic. They still require daily feeding, access to fresh clean water, exercise and mental stimulation. Pets can still come into contact with fleas and worms, as these are usually picked up environmentally not through pet to pet contact, so continue to treat for these. You may find a few of the following tips useful for you both as you settle into your new normal:
- Can be a great way to bond & relieve stress for you both
- This is where routine is key. Try to stick to your usual feeding routines and avoid too many high calorie snacks. If you cannot get food supplies personally, you can still order VitaPet products online.
- There is currently no evidence that dogs, horses and farm animals can spread the disease to each other or humans. However, you should still practice good hygiene and wash your hands after playing with your animals.
- Why not try teaching your pet a new trick; make it a fun challenge for your kids! There are plenty of trick training resources available online.
If you are concerned about your pet’s health while practicing social distancing – ring your vet to ask for advice; do not go to the vet during this lockdown. Rest assured, vets are classified as an essential service and are working with clients over the phone to ensure pets receive the care they need while remaining open for emergencies.
Please note that advice provided is reflective of the evidence at hand. For the most up-to-date advice for Australia, visit www.health.gov.au, and visit www.health.govt.nz in NZ. And as always call your veterinarian if you are concerned for your pet's health.