If we can extrapolate any good news about the coronavirus that is in everyone’s heads these days, it is that domesticated animals can not carry the virus. As of late March of 2020, there are no reported cases of the COVID-19 being transmitted from animals. However, the fact that the virus is very new, and we still have to learn a lot about it - calls for awareness and caution.
Love Them As Usual
First of all, just the very fact that you are spending more time at home with your benefits is an excellent thing for them, and you. Dogs and cats get to play with you all the time, while you can enjoy the relaxing company of your pet and feel all the benefits dog and cat owners feel. Do you know how petting your dog makes you feel calm inside?
Well, this is not something that one should describe as the mystical parts of your soul feeling right, it is basic chemistry. As you enjoy your pet’s company, your body releases oxytocin. Although this hormone is found in most mammals, and it has some other purposes, the one it has one us is to make us calm and collected. During the coronavirus outbreak, that is a fantastic thing to feel.
If They Are Safe - So Are You
You will have to walk your dog, even when you know there is a deadly pathogen spreading across the world. Although your dog can not get infected, the pathogens can live on it for a short time.
This is what you should be thinking about when you see another dog approaching yours while you are out: maybe that dog has an infected owner, and although our dogs are not sick, we can make each other sick. Your best bet is to keep the dog on a leash and do not let it come in contact with other animals. At least not for now.
Mental And Physical Stimulation
Now, spending time with your pets is great and all, but even they can get bored. Not of you, doggo will love you forever, but of their daily activities. Or lack of, better to say. If they are not spending so much time outside, and they are not getting enough mental or physical activity, make sure you try to recreate some of the stuff dogs would usually do outside.
They would sniff a lot, and they would search for information about the environment through their nose. You can make a fun game by putting treats all around the house: on your stairs, across the hall, behind a chair, anywhere really. Ask your dog to wait until you finish placing the track (what we will name as a ‘’Treat Track’’) and then you give them the release cue. If your dog finds it too hard to wait while you set the track, put up a barrier or place them in another room while you do it. All of you will have a lot of fun!
Challenge Them More
The ‘’Treat Track’’ is great, but once your pet figures it out, he will be flying through the course. You can make it more difficult, and put treats inside a toy, or an empty paper toilet roll. The dog will now have a much harder time getting all the treats, but all dogs like a challenge.
They like to work for food, and doing one between tree runs on the track full of treats will exhaust both mentally and physically. This is precisely what you want because a tired dog is a happy dog. If you keep raising the difficulty of the challenges slowly, the dog will continuously have to work more and think more. He will not be frustrated later at night when you personally want to relax.
Keep Them Clean
We are all carefully focused on personal hygiene in a time of a virus pandemic. Once you get back from your walk, you can at least wash your dog’s paws and do any kind of dry wash on the fur. Clean and disinfect the place where they sleep (even if it is your own bed), wash the toys they use with hot water, and clean their water and food bowls regularly.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
Your MLA Citation
Your APA Citation
Your Chicago Citation
Your Harvard CitationRemember to italicize the title of this article in your Harvard citation.