Excellus BlueCross BlueShield sponsored this post as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
One of my sons is a doctor in Rochester, New York. At around 9 pm on Christmas, after his shift in the ICU, we visited via Facetime. It was a rough day for him. COVID is not a hoax or a “bad flu.” In his words, “COVID is everywhere.” His hospital is almost out of beds. His exhaustion was more than physical, and it was heartbreaking to see.
While it is encouraging that the FDA has approved COVID vaccines, we still need to follow the CDC guidelines. I know that so many people are anxious to get back to their regular activities, but for now, we need to be patient so we don’t end up as patients. That means staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask when out in public, and washing hands thoroughly and often.
Since many of us have experienced cabin fever in one way or another, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has put together some great ideas to help make this winter more enjoyable while staying home. Although I miss seeing my older kids, sisters, and mom, we stay connected through phone calls, Facetime, and Zoom. Our two college-aged kids are living at home with us. They play video games online with their siblings, which helps us feel more connected.
I’m pretty sure my dogs love the fact that their humans are always home.
This extra time together has resulted in more cuddles, more time to play with them, and longer walks (weather permitting.)
Just like humans, dogs sometimes have essential appointments, and taking care of them entails other obligations too. Luckily, it isn’t hard to stay safe while taking care of your dogs.
Pet Supplies: Most pet stores offer curbside pickup, and some even offer delivery.
Vet Appointments: At our vet facility, a vet tech meets us at the car and takes the pets inside. During or after the exam, the vet calls and gives us her findings and recommendations. After the exam, the vet tech brings the pet back to the car. They are currently allowing a pet parent to be present for end-of-life appointments. (Masks must be worn.)
If your vet isn’t following the CDC guidelines, consider postponing appointments or finding a new vet. Your pet needs you to stay healthy!
Grooming: If your dog must go to the groomer, make sure you are comfortable with their mask policies. According to the CDC, dogs can get infected with COVID, but it does not seem like they transmit it to humans. If you need to learn how to cut your pup’s nails, there are many guides online.
Walks: Walks are beneficial for both dogs and humans. However, be sure you maintain a 6-foot distance from others and wear a mask as needed. We’re fortunate that we live in a small town, and there are rarely people walking around when we are. When we see our neighbors and friends, we exchange pleasantries from a safe distance.
Training: A well-trained dog makes life more enjoyable. Currently, there are many online training options available. This is also a great time to teach your dog a new trick.
Exercise: These exercises for balance are great for dogs of all ages. Why not help your pup build or maintain strength?
Bake Dog Treats: While your dog probably won’t help with the baking, he will love eating the end product. Try this easy vegan apple dog biscuit recipe. Although most dogs are not vegans, I know many of you are. This particular recipe calls for only two ingredients: applesauce and flour.
It turned out that I didn’t have any applesauce, but I had an apple. A quick Google search, and ten minutes later, I had applesauce.
Apple Biscuits for Dogs
Apple Biscuits for Dogs
- Rolling pin or another cylinder (such as filled water bottle) to roll dough
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup flour (I use oat flour because my dog is sensitive to wheat)
- Mix the flour and applesauce together
- Chill the dough for approximately one hour
- Roll out the dough
- Optional: roll the dough with an engraved rolling pin
- Cut dough with pizza cutter or knife into squares
- Place on baking sheet (parchment paper optional)
- Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes
My dogs love these treats, and I love that I know exactly what is in them.
See some of our other recipe ideas here.
How have you been coping with the pandemic?
I know that the pandemic is very stressful on many levels. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has a 24/7 Nurse Hotline available for questions related to self-care and mental health. Please continue to stay updated about the virus, testing, and the vaccines, and how you can do your part to keep our community safe.