It’s a confusing and frustrating time for everyone around the world. The dos and don’ts, self-isolation, the list goes on. And then there’s our energetic, four-legged friends. It’s impossible for them to comprehend how much the world has changed. But they still need to be fed, well hydrated, exercised, and most of all, loved.
So how do you keep your faithful companion from becoming restless and keep both of you happy and healthy during this period of self-isolation? Let’s turn this around and think positively, as it could be one of the most rewarding times of your life with man’s best friend. From their perspective, they have you right where they want you—at home with them, twenty-four seven. What could possibly be more exciting? A captive audience, their favourite play partner, back scratcher, and tummy tickler.
There are concerns, questions, and suggestions making rounds on the internet, and most of them are common sense. The following are some tips on taking care of Fido and remaining virus-free and healthy, assuming that you are also:
- Exercise and fresh air are just as important for you as they are for your pooch. Get out, breathe, go for that stroll, but keep them on a lead. That gives you more control to keep a safe distance between you and others. It also allows you to keep them moving at a good pace. They don’t need to stop at every fence post or telephone pole picking up messages.
- If a friendly stranger decides to pet your dog, bathe him (the dog, not the stranger) when you get home to ensure there is no possible trace of the virus on the dog’s coat. Better yet, remain at a safe distance from everyone for now to discourage any unwanted attention.
- Wash your dog’s paws when you get back from your walk.
- If someone in your home has contracted COVID-19, keep the dog away from them as best you can. Although the dog itself can’t contract the virus, it can remain on their coat for an extended (reports vary) length of time, thereby becoming a carrier. Anyone who touches the dog and then touches their face could potentially end up sick. Regularly wash your hands and, if necessary, your pet’s as well.
- Make sure you have enough of the proper food on hand for you and Fido. No sharing, though!
- Good old-fashioned play will keep both you and Fido amused. Dogs like to be busy, so get creative with the indoor games. Hide-and-seek-a-treat or a game of catch will do. Teach them a new trick or maybe even create some calm with a little downward dog yoga. (You may have seen one of those “yoga dog” videos on Facebook.)
- Relax and cuddle with each other. It lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and calms feelings of anxiety. Your dog, on the other hand, just wants some lovin’. However, try not to let them bathe your face with kisses since you don’t know exactly where that snout has been.
- If you do become ill and you live alone, don’t be afraid to ask for help if required. For both of you, wash, wash, and wash again. Walks will be verboten, but back-garden potty breaks and a bit of a run will be in order. If there are others in the house, see point 4.
- If you do have concerns about your dog, DON’T VISIT your local vet or animal shelter right away but call first. They will be happy to answer any questions and allay any concerns you may have.
Now that the U.K. is experiencing a lockdown, we need to be vigilant for ourselves and our pets. Any outdoor activity is now extremely curtailed so when you take your pup for that daily constitution, make sure you both get a good stretch on a short leash.