As social distancing mandates sweep the nation due to the coronavirus outbreak, you may wonder how to take care of your pets. Can you take them outside? How can they get their exercise? Are they susceptible to contracting and spreading the virus?
Answers to these questions are still unclear as medical professionals search for solutions to the coronavirus. As you live with your pet in these uncertain times, consider these tips for keeping them safe and healthy.
Walking and running
One of the most common ways to exercise your dog is still an option. If you’re healthy enough, walking and running your pet are recommended. When you go outside, avoid touching unnecessary surfaces and wash your hands when you return home. Wash your pet’s paws when they come back into the house, too.
Pets love challenges, especially ones that give them some reward. Try hiding treats inside a puzzle game, or stuff peanut butter inside one of your pet’s toys. Play hide-and-seek by covering yourself in a blanket. You can flip the switch and make them find their way out from underneath the blanket or an old shirt too.
Laser pointers can be a fun option for keeping your pet active, but they can be bad for your pet if you use them too often.
Practice old tricks or teach new ones
Another way to challenge your pet and reward them is to work on tricks. Practice the basics and try adding some new moves to the mix. Looking for something more advanced? Have your pet perform their tricks in a specific sequence or randomize the order entirely.
Create an obstacle course
Save your water bottles or cans and form a maze for your pet. Place some treats along the path to lead your pet to the finish line. Make sure to capture the action on video so you can upload it later and show off your pet’s skills to the world.
Without the expansive grassy areas of a park, you’ll be limited when throwing a toy indoors. You can get around that by throwing the toy up or down the stairs or in an empty hallway. It’s also an excellent opportunity to practice the “sit” and “stay” commands. You can also try chasing your pet or, more likely, having them chase you.
Social distancing at dog parks
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being within six feet of other people for prolonged periods can put you at risk for contracting the virus. Given the current climate, avoiding dog parks is best practice.
If you do venture out to a dog park, follow some of these safety precautions to reduce your risk of contracting or spreading the virus.
- Put a time limit on how long you’re there.
- Place significant distance between yourself and other pet owners.
- Avoid touching surfaces and other dogs.
- Visit during uncommon hours.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you return home.
- Wipe your dog’s coat and paws thoroughly before they enter your home.
Dogs can contract coronaviruses, but the CDC currently does not believe COVID-19 is a threat to dogs. The virus survives best on smooth surfaces, so catching it from touching another animal is unlikely. You should still wash your hands after touching other pets because you don’t know how many people have been in contact with the animal. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should limit your contact with your pet and the public to reduce the threat of spreading the virus.
Please consult your doctor if you need any official medical advice regarding the coronavirus. Please contact your veterinarian if you are concerned about the health of your pet.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet’s Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.