This post is not intended to dispute any medical or veterinary experts. It contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through the link, I’ll earn a small fee.
Help Your Dog Cope With Social Distancing
Due to the pandemic spread of COVID 19, more communities are asking people to stay home. While it is a scary time, at least we can understand why our lives are being disrupted.
If you live in an area that is asking (or ordering) social distancing, here are some tips to help your dog from going stir crazy. (Please note, this post is intended for people who are feeling healthy.)
First, take the situation seriously.
While it might be tempting to think of social distancing as a mini-vacation, follow the suggested measures to keep this disease from spreading. If you are taking your dog out for a walk, be sure to follow your local guidelines, including wearing a mask and maintaining a minimum of six feet distance between other people.
Second, remain calm and try to look for the things you can do, instead of dwelling on the things you cannot do.
I asked my Instagram friend Stella the Springer, who lives in Italy for some information. “Here, people can walk their dogs, but they mustn’t meet other dog owners. Furthermore, dog parks are closed, so dogs aren’t able to socialize with other dogs. Walks aren’t allowed in crowded places so the countryside is perfect.”
If your dog is used to going for doggie play dates or to the dog park, she might not understand why those have stopped. Now is the time to strengthen your bond with extra playtime, cuddles on the couch, and baking special treats.
One of the simplest forms of entertainment is to have a treasure hunt. We hide small pieces of kibble around the house. Our dogs get really excited when they sniff a piece of kibble out of an unusual spot.
You could also hide a favorite toy or ball. Reward your dog with a game of fetch (roll the ball if you live in an apartment or condo) or a game of tug. Make time for your pup especially if she is used to an active lifestyle.
Teach Your Dog A New Trick
These banana beet treats are easy to make. If you don’t have beets, you can just make banana treats!
Chances are you have all the ingredients for these vegan carrot pupcakes already.
Adopt Or Foster A Dog (or Cat)
Social distancing permits more time to help a new pet adjust to your lifestyle. Before visiting a shelter, call and see if they are open! Unfortunately, there may be an increase in animals entering the shelters. If you can foster a pet at this time, it would make a big difference to the animal you foster as well as make room for another pet. As an added bonus: maybe you’ll discover the pet you foster is a perfect family member.
Hang Out On The Couch
My dogs love to hang out on the sofa when I watch TV or my kids play video games. They don’t really seem to care what I watch, they just want to snuggle. Some people report that their dogs really love DogTV.
If you are in the continental United States and are unable to take your dog out to do her business, you might want to consider getting Doggie Lawn.
Doggie Lawn is a subscription service that delivers real grass to your home. I think it would be especially useful if you aren’t feeling well, have a senior dog or puppy, or live in a high rise building.
Limit non-essential vet appointments. (If you aren’t sure, call your vet.)
Groom your dog at home.
Make sure you have enough food and medication for your pet.
Follow the old adage “better safe than sorry” and make a plan for someone to take care of your pet in case you get sick. A pet-sitter checklist will increase the chances that your pup is properly cared for while you are recovering.
During this time of social distancing, many small businesses are taking a big hit financially. Consider buying a gift certificate from them now to use at a later date.
From the Experts
The World Health Organization currently advises that there is no evidence to suggest that dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.
- “Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people.
- If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; keep your pet well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
- Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.”
Instagram friend Ludovica Pellccioni reminds us: “We are not carriers of the coronavirus. We take care of you always and in all circumstances. Don’t abandon us, we will never do it.“
Do you have tips for helping pets and their people cope with social distancing during the COVID 19 outbreak?