How to Help Your Dog Handle COVID-19
It’s been a while since the coronavirus pandemic forced many of us to be stuck inside our homes. And while there are plenty of good things that came out of it, such as spending more time with our pets and family, it’s not all positive. Some of us can’t get used to working from home, some are binge eating, some of us are missing the social interaction.
But it’s not only us, humans, who feel the side effects of being stuck at home – our dogs feel it too. They are surprised that we are spending all that time with them, and many of them are even missing their privacy.
“Just like people, pets can respond with a wide variability to any change,” M. Leanne Lilly, a professor of veterinary behavioral medicine at Ohio State University, told Vox. “Some pets are reveling in the constant attention that comes with their owners being marooned at home. Some don’t seem to have any idea that their owners’ routines have changed — or if they do, they don’t care. But still, others are finding the sudden disruption to be a stressful experience.”
In this article, we’ll talk about some fun things to do to keep your dogs occupied during quarantine, how to handle all that time together, and how to make sure you don’t stress your dog when you go back to work.
Let’s get to it!
Fun Things to Do With Your Dog during Quarantine
Dogs live in a world of scent, so playing a treasure hunt game is a great way to tap into their instincts and make them use their incredible sense of smell.
Get a few cardboard boxes and place them around the house. Put a small treat in one of them, and allow your dog to sniff it out. After a while, start shuffling the boxes around to make things more interesting for your dog.
This kind of stimulation is a great form of mental exercise that will also tire your dog out. If you find out that your dog truly enjoys it, you can even try out some scentwork training.
Take Them on Drives
You can use all this free time to make your dog get used to car travel. Take them on a few short trips at first, and allow them to hear, see, and smell everything. That way, they can get accustomed to different noises and surroundings so they don’t act out when you take them to a new place.
This also provides a great experience for smaller puppies as they need to have as many socialization opportunities as possible, and meeting other dogs at the dog park is not an option during the quarantine.
Most dog groomers are out of business during these times, so catching up on your dog’s grooming needs is a fun way to spend time with them and ensure their health is in the best shape.
Take one whole day and give your dog a nice long bath, then brush their coat, clean their ears, and brush their teeth.
Learn Some New Commands
Quarantine provides the perfect opportunity to take part in some reward-based dog training exercises. You can teach your dog a few new tricks and spend some quality time with your family at the same time. Your dog will enjoy a lot of positive attention, and it will provide them with a sense of accomplishment.
In addition, training your dog has a lot of positive effects. You can read more about them in our other blog post.
Make sure to always think of new ways to entertain and exercise both your dog and yourself. That way, you can keep everyone healthy and happy in these unprecedented and stressful times.Top of Form
How to Prevent Separation Anxiety When Things go Back to “Normal”
Spending all that quality time with your dog is great, but you have to be careful not to overdo it. If you cuddle with them all day, walk them 3 times per day, and suddenly you have to go back to work next week, how do you think your dog is going to feel?
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your dogs navigate this difficult situation.
First and foremost, it’s very important to make sure your dog spends some time alone. Right now, you might be home 24 hours, 7 days a week, but when you go to work, your dog will need to spend up to 8 hours alone.
Pandemic Puppy Mental Health
That’s why they need to learn how to do it before they are just left alone. If not done properly, this has the potential to cause separation anxiety. This is especially important for younger pups, as they need to learn this at a younger age.
You can start by making your puppy sleep alone in another room without any people or distractions. Another option is to start leaving them alone for short periods of time, for example when you go shopping. After a while, you can gradually increase the duration while making sure your pup is okay and build up to 8 hours.
If you don’t leave the house at all, you can try keeping your dog in another room for a few hours a day while you work or do some chores. Over a few days, your dog will get accustomed to being alone, and then you can slowly start increasing that time.
In addition, there are many free apps that allow you to play a variety of noises that are calming for your dog. Use these sounds to make sure your dog is peaceful and spends some quality time resting.
Another thing you should try is to provide them with as much entertainment as possible, without that being you. We all know that nothing is as interesting as you are in your dog’s eyes, but buying a few interactive toys should do the trick.
Start by slowly incorporating them now during quarantine so they get used to keeping themselves busy. That way, when you go back to work, it will seem more normal to them.
Covid19 Dogs Conclusion
The coronavirus lockdown has allowed many of us to spend some quality time with our beloved pets, but we must be careful not to overdo it. It shouldn’t be long before we all go back to work and leave our dogs home alone, and in order to prevent separation anxiety, you need to make sure you’re not around your dogs 24/7.
The time you spend with them should be fully engaging and provide them with enough physical and mental activity so they can get a nice long sleep afterward. We hope that the ideas we listed above will help you do just that.