The COVID-19 lockdown has been hard on everyone, including our dogs. They may love spending all day with you but it has for sure put a lot of pressure on them as well. No long walks, no socializing with other animals and no playdates at the dog parks. Considering that this is what their normal life looks like, it has been a struggle for your pets indeed.
But dogs are a creature of habit. After more than 4 months of lockdown, they have become accustomed to the change in their routine. But now the restrictions are being lifted and the world is getting back to its normal pace. You’ll have to get back to work and your dog will be able to chase the birds again all the while COVID-19 still lingers in the streets. So brace yourselves for another change. Now, you have to be more careful than ever with your dogs, for the sake of their health as well as yours. So here are a few tips that will help you start the post lockdown journey with your pet carefully.
Since the pandemic began, ‘social distancing’ has become a new concept in our lives. Now you know the importance of being at least 6 feet apart from others. The same practice is applicable to pets as well.
With the recent developments, it has become evident that animals have the risk of getting infected with COVID-19. A few cases in the US show dogs as well as cats showing mild clinical symptoms. Though the number is very low, the possibility still exists. This is why along with you and your family members, you need to practice social distancing with your dogs too. Don’t take them to crowded places. Keep them at a distance of at least six feet from other dogs and people that you don’t live with. And in case you or someone around you is infected with COVID-19 or showing symptoms, keep your dog at a safe distance and avoid any contact with your pet.
Help Them Deal With Separation Anxiety
Dogs have been a tremendous support and a perfect partner during quarantine. Whether as an emotional support dog or as a friend to socialize with, pets helped you through the lockdown. But now that nationwide unlock has begun, experts believe that it is more than likely that they will experience separation anxiety, especially if you have fostered or adopted a puppy. So now dogs need your support to glide through the change. All you need is a little patience and persistence.
You will have to ease them into the new situation and routine. If you have been spending more time with your dogs in the lockdown, start taking the time away. Go to a different room for some time or let them stay indoors while you go do your everyday outdoor chores like gardening or grocery shopping. You can also create a situation so that dogs realize that it is time for you to go away. For example, start getting dressed for office or get your morning coffee and leave the house. Start with small durations. And don’t give in to the barks and howls. It will happen but with passing time, the anxiety will fade away.
Maintain Their Hygiene
Now that your dogs have a little more freedom to go outside, you will have to be more careful about their hygiene. For example, set up a sanitizing protocol for them. It has become a ritual now for us to clean everything that comes from outside. We wash our hands, clean all the store bought vegetables and sanitize our frequently touched objects like door handles. So include dogs into the ritual too. Whenever you come back from walks or after a play date with another dog, clean their paws and disinfect the fur with animal approved disinfectant. Also, give them a bath once a while. Do not be too frequent or their skin will get itchy and they may develop a rash.
Ease Them Around Face Masks
When you take your dogs out for a walk or to a nearby park, you will come across people who will be wearing a face mask. For a dog, a face mask can create an uncomfortable and uncertain situation. This is because dogs learn and understand a lot about humans by reading their facial expressions. With face masks covering half of your face, it acts as a hindrance.
So your job is to make a positive memory around face masks for your dog. Create an association that tells them that masks are a good thing and may even get them a treat. This way, you will avoid a stressed and confused dog while out on a walk after lockdown ends.
Keep A Close Eye On Your Dog’s Behavior
As I have mentioned already, pets have a risk (through very low) of getting sick with COVID-19. As you can not always keep a check at what your dog eats or touches, observe their behavior closely. If you feel that they are acting weird or somethings wrong with your dog, get in touch with a veterinarian immediately. You can also consult online to avoid leaving the house until necessary.
It depends on you now to help your dogs become comfortable to you not being around and the new era of living in a pandemic. So keep these tips in mind to always be careful with your pets after the lockdown ends completely.