Keeping your pets sane during Covid-19 quarantine!
A bit like children, dogs respond really well to routine. Taking your dog out for even a 5-10min walk first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening will help avoid boredom and cabin fever and will help to maintain regular urinary and bowel movements.
Dogs have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell (approx forty times that of a human) and find these sniff outings highly stimulating!
Feeding your dog after a short walk (wait an hour if there has been intensive play or a long walk, hike or run involved in the activity) morning and evening is rewarding and will allow you to observe normal eating habits. Dividing the recommended daily dietary intake (written on the side of the bag of food you feed and determined by the desired body weight for your dog) into two feeds can also provide an excellent opportunity to medicate with food twice per day when needed. For example diabetic patients or those on a course of antibiotics with such directions.
Provide stimulating toys. Rotating out squeaky toys every now and then can make them seem new again and provide an opportunity to wash the others!
While treat motivated toys provide great stimulation, My Vet and Pets recommends filling these toys with the kibble that you feed (accounting for the total daily recommendation) rather than treats to avoid excessive calorific intake. Always ensure any treats you purchase from a "pet store" are FDA approved for consumption. My Vet and Pets has had great success with occupying even the most rambunctious pups for a few hours with their frozen rubber toys stuffed with boiled chicken and rice. These are particularly helpful and healthy for anxious dogs.
Allow for downtime. Dogs love to take a siesta when given a quiet opportunity!
How much more fun and entertainment-filled your days must be now and what an honor and privilege to get to spend more time at home hanging out with the head of the household! However, keep in mind that your cat may not reciprocate those feelings and your newly perplexing ever-presence may be seen as an invasion of their territory! This can stress your cat.
As a general rule, some cat experts recommend providing three rooms and two easily accessible (and readily escapable!) litter boxes for every cat to minimize territoriality.
On the flip side be aware that while some cats may really appreciate your presence, but they may become stressed when your routine returns to normal. Therefore, at minimum don't forget to give your cat some personal space throughout the day!
Those cats with a history of sterile dysuria (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease often manifesting as recurring sterile bladder infections) should be monitored carefully for any signs of stress. Many of these cats will already be well controlled on a urinary diet prescribed by the vet.
Stress can also lead to outbreaks of the herpes virus, which manifests as an upper respiratory infection or runny eyes in cats. Similarly to that in humans, this virus hides in the nerves when your cat is healthy and may recrudesce when your cat is stressed.
Cats seek out high vantage points so allow them to hang out on a tall cat tower or a safely accessible height next to the window to watch nature and outdoor activity when indoors.
Many cats may be thrilled for more playtime with you! My Vet and Pets always recommends spending at least 10mins morning and evening playing with your cat. This awakens their wild side and the hunter within, and can subsequently be rewarded with eating (the kill!) breakfast and dinner respectively.
As always, maintain great care with introducing new chemicals (bleach, flowers) into the household. These products can be highly toxic to cats if ingested while licking their paws or grooming their fur. Always check any treats are FDA approved before feeding to avoid illness and excessive calorific content.
Fun and safe toys recommended by My Vet and Pets are ping pong balls, plastic balls containing bells, and feather toys at the end of a rod or string if used strictly under supervision. String toys in general are not recommended without supervision as cats can ingest these, which can lead to serious complications including possible emergency life saving surgery! Laser toys should also be used with caution to avoid directly shining them near the face potentially damaging the eyes.
Have fun and stay safe with your pets!