Life has turned upside for all of us since COVID-19 arrived. This new normal means the possibility of being quarantined in our homes. A quarantine means being prepared to stay home for two weeks or longer. You have probably already purchased food supplies and related items should a quarantine become necessary. In addition to food and household supplies, let’s consider what supplies your pet will need should you be quarantined and unable to leave your home for an extended period of time.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and health experts agree there is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 can be given to or spread by pets. While that is a good thing, the virus is changing the lives of pets across the U.S.
Be sure you purchase enough pet food and cleaning supplies. Pet parents should plan to have an extra supply of flea, tick and heartworm preventive on hand. If your pet is on other prescription medication, make sure you have plenty on hand to cover a two week or longer quarantine. If you have not already done so, schedule a wellness examination with your veterinarian now. Check with your veterinarian office to be sure your pet is up to date on her vaccines. For those pet parents of cats, purchase extra cat litter.
Pets who live in an apartment will experience different challenges than those who live in a home with a private outdoor space. These different challenges include the possibility of not being able to go outside to potty as well as finding opportunities for exercise should a quarantine be necessary. Pet parents with a private yard won’t have to worry but those who don’t may be faced with pets going potty inside the home. Though this goes against everything we worked so hard to teach our pets, quarantining due to COVID-19 may make this necessary for a period of time. If quarantining becomes necessary due to COVID-19, a plan should be in place for this possibility.
Ettel Edshteyn, owner of Poodles to Pit Bulls Clicker Training, suggests the best way to teach your dog to potty indoors is by following the same routine as when you take your dog outside. Providing your dog the same clues will give her the signal it is time to potty. Get her leash, potty bags and any other items you normally take with you. These clues will tell her it is time to get ready.
It is also important to maintain the same schedule. If your dog goes outside first thing every morning, keep that same routine. Ms. Edshteyn suggests walking your dog to the area you have chosen where they will potty. If he doesn’t go at first, keep trying but don’t pressure him too much. Give him a break while you go to another area of your home. Be mindful and watch for a signal from your pup he is ready to give it another try.
Don’t forget to practice extremely good hygiene when cleaning up after your pet. Clean the area thoroughly afterwards. Protect your floors with newspapers or potty pads.
You will need to find creative ways to provide your pet with opportunities for exercise if you are quarantined. Besides the traditional catch or tug of war, consider making a puzzle game for your pet. You can do this by hiding healthy treats throughout your home for your pet to find. For those dogs who require a lot of physical activity, being quarantined could be challenging. Isolation could create feelings of increased stress, anxiety or depression. This could be true for dogs as well. Depression could cause a dog to experience difficulty eating, sleeping and playing. They could become anxious or destructive. As a result, they may engage in unusual behavior such as increased reactivity, increased barking or have difficulty settling.
Ms. Edshteyn reminds us dogs can struggle if they have nothing to do. It is important to find opportunities for them to participate in activities to decrease their boredom which will help mitigate negative behavior. It is important to remember just like us feelings of isolation or boredom can lead to depression and negative behavior. By thinking ahead and being prepared for the challenges which might results, we can keep our family and pets feeling safe and secure.