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How to care for your pet during the coronavirus outbreak

Published Mar 25th, 2020 9:26AM EDT
Coronavirus Dogs Symptoms
Image: Cultura/REX/Shutterstock

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  • The novel coronavirus pandemic has a major impact on every aspect of our lives, from public safety and financial stability to stress levels and beyond.
  • As stressful as the spread of COVID-19 is for us, it’s important to also remember to care for our pets during this trying time.
  • Pet wellness brand RestoraPet has circulated some tips about how to care for our pets while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and there is plenty of important advice to be found in the company’s recommendations.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

We’re all under a tremendous amount of stress right now in these early days of the novel coronavirus’s arrive in the United States. That’s right, despite the fact that there are already more than 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US, the virus is only just beginning to spread. Some estimates suggest that as much of half of the entire US population could be exposed to the novel virus, and that’s part of the reason why the scientific community is working so hard to develop treatments and a vaccine. It will be quite some time before any real progress is made though, and that’s why it’s so important that we all continue to self-quarantine, practice social distancing when we do go have to go out, and wash our hands as often and as thoroughly as possible.

Protecting ourselves and our families are obviously the top priorities right now, but let’s not forget that many of us have pets as part of our families. Nothing is conclusive at this time since COVID-19 is still so new, but the WHO has stated that it’s unlikely common household pets can contract the novel coronavirus. But dogs, cats, and other pets definitely pick up on our stress and it can cause them stress as well, so it’s important to remember to be aware of how this unfortunate situation is impacting our four-legged friends. For that reason, pet wellness brand RestoraPet has put together a list of 10 great tips to help us care for our furry family members during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

It is of the utmost importance that we stock up on things like pet food and pet toys now while we still can. The last thing you want to have happen is to run out of pet supplies in a couple of weeks if everything is shut down. Popular retailers like Amazon are still shipping pet supplies, so stock up on enough to last you a month or even longer, just to play it safe. That should be fairly obvious to most pet parents, but there are other things that you definitely need to keep in mind and RestoraPet has done a great job of hitting all the important points.

While we can’t vouch for the efficacy of RestoraPet’s supplement, we can certainly confirm that the company is full of good advice on how to ensure that our beloved pets are cared for during this trying time. Here are 10 important tips the company shared with the media on Friday:

  1. Ensure adequate pet-care supply – Pet owners should have enough food, supplements, medications, and any other pet-care products needed to last your pet at least two weeks and, ideally, four weeks.
  2. Have a contingency plan – Identify someone who can take care of your pet in the event you no longer can. Be sure to inform them of any special care your pet requires. When it comes to medication, make sure to provide specific and detailed directions about dosing and administration.
  3. Find indoor games to help pets exercise – There are several ways to engage pets physically and mentally while indoors. Consider playing keep away, getting pets to chase laser pointers, calling dogs back and forth through the house with treats, blowing bubbles for them to chase, playing hide and seek, or getting them puzzle toys. You can also encourage them to forage for food, set up an indoor agility course, and play “find the toy or treat.”
  4. Make an indoor or backyard potty – Having a stash of pee pads in the house may prove useful if you and your dog don’t want to go outdoors. Also, consider making a potty for your dog in the backyard by bordering off an area of the yard.
  5. Do not overfeed – While more and more Americans are forced to stay home and self-isolate, it is easier than ever to stress eat during this time without realizing it—and overfeed pets alongside yourself. According to a recent Pet Obesity Prevention survey, nearly 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs are considered overweight or obese, which can lead to health problems.
  6. Develop a schedule – Many pets, like people, are comforted by routines. As many of us find our daily routines disrupted, it’s important to develop new rituals and routines that help give pets structure. Continue to feed them and walk them on a similar schedule, if possible, or develop new indoor routines to replace the missing rituals.
  7. Quarantine yourself from pets – If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or suspect that you may be positive, it remains unclear whether a pet contract COVID-19 or become a vector for passing it, so steer clear of pets and other humans in your household during this time. If you cannot find someone else to care for your pet, continue providing care yourself, but limit contact with them as much as possible. Try not to pet them but, if you must, wash your hands both before and after. Do not kiss them or snuggle with them, and wear a face mask around them. Once you get better and the quarantine has passed, you can give your pet extra love and snuggles to make up for the couple of weeks apart.
  8. Plan for medical emergencies – If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or suspect that you may be positive, and your pet becomes sick or experiences an emergency that requires veterinary attention and no one else can take them to a vet or animal hospital, pet owners should call ahead to inform the vet of the situation.
  9. Have updated medical records – If worse comes to worst, you may have to board your pet to keep him or her safe. For this reason, it is a good idea to ensure every pet is up to date on his or her vaccines. Also, make sure pets are microchipped and that their records are up to date.
  10. Stay calm – Since pets pick up on our nervous energy, the last thing you want to do is stress them out in a way that causes them to act out, further perpetuating your own anxiety. Do some deep breathing, pet them calmly, and make sure to give them your full, undivided attention at least 15 minutes per day, to soothe both them and yourself.
Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.