How to Keep Your Pets Happy & Healthy During Self-Isolation
Written by: Richard Rowlands, Pet Health Expert
As shelter-in-place orders are enacted throughout the US and worldwide to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many of us are confined to our homes. It's a difficult time for everyone, but there's one silver lining: we get to spend more time with our pets. In this article, we'll share some ideas to help you keep your pets happy and healthy during self-isolation.
What Supplies Do I Need to Take Care of My Pets?
First, it's important to stock up on essential supplies to help you take care of your pets during quarantine. The good news is that pet stores are considered to be essential businesses. This means that they are allowed to remain open during the pandemic. However, it's a good idea to buy pet supplies online if possible to minimize your risk of coming into contact with the virus.
So, what should be on your shopping list? We recommend purchasing at least a two-week supply of pet food, treats, cleaning supplies, and other essentials like cat litter or puppy pads. If any of your pets are on regular medication, make sure you have enough to last you for a few weeks. And don't forget to stock up on flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives to protect your pets against parasites. Now is also a great time to shop for toys and games to keep your pets entertained while they're stuck at home.
Is It Safe to Walk My Dog?
If you're a dog owner, you may be wondering if it's safe to walk your pup during the crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dogs should be walked on a leash. A distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) should be maintained between other people and animals. The CDC also recommends avoiding dog parks or public places where large numbers of people and dogs gather. Before walking your dog, please check local regulations to make sure that the activity is permitted in your area. It's also vital to wash your hands thoroughly before and after each walk.
How Can I Keep My Pets Active at Home?
A lack of mental and physical stimulation can lead to a variety of problems in pets, including weight gain, anxiety, and destructive behaviors. Environmental enrichment is the process of manipulating an animal's environment to satisfy their physical and psychological needs. This helps keep them mentally and physically active and minimizes the risk of them developing behavioral or health issues. In the next section of this post, we'll share some tips for enriching your cat or dog's indoor environment.
Enriching Your Cat's Indoor Environment
A lack of mental stimulation can lead to behavioral issues in cats, including anxiety, aggression, and over-grooming. Physically inactive cats are also prone to developing health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Providing your cat with a variety of toys is a great way to keep them mentally and physically active. Some of the best cat toys for environmental enrichment include puzzle toys and feeders, catnip toys, and interactive toys like wands and feather teasers.
The Beonebreed Cat Intellikatt Customizable Puzzle Feeder Bowl is an interactive toy that provides a stimulating challenge for cats. The customizable puzzle bowl is designed to help prevent unwanted behaviors associated with boredom. It also slows down your cat while they are eating, preventing bloating, indigestion, and stomach upsets. Puzzle toys and feeders provide an opportunity for your cat to satisfy their instincts to hunt and play. When these needs are provided for, your cat is much less likely to develop behavioral issues.
Catnip is a plant from the mint family. It has a strong, pungent fragrance that's highly attractive to felines of all kinds. It also triggers a euphoric effect in many cats. Catnip toys like Yeowww! Organic Catnip Fruit Cat Toys are a great choice for enriching your cat's indoor environment. These premium toys are stuffed full of organically grown catnip and are completely safe for both cats and humans.
From the Field Freddy's Feather Cat Toy is a wand-style cat toy that helps keep your cat active and provides mental stimulation. Enjoy hours of fun with your feline friend by twirling the wand to activate their natural hunting instinct.
It's also a good idea to enrich your cat's indoor environment by satisfying their natural instincts to climb, scratch, and hide. You can encourage these natural behaviors by providing cat trees or towers, scratch poles, and hiding places like boxes and tunnels. Make sure to set aside some time each day to interact with your cat and engage them in play. This will help prevent boredom and stress and ensure that they stay mentally and physically active.
Enriching Your Dog's Indoor Environment
Just like cats, dogs that are mentally under-stimulated can develop a range of behavioral problems, such as barking, chewing, and separation anxiety. A lack of physical exercise can also lead to weight gain, obesity, and serious health conditions including heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Provide your dog with a variety of toys with different textures, colors, shapes, sizes, and smells. This will help stimulate their senses and keep them active and engaged.
KONG Genius is a line of interactive treat dispensing toys that come in two shapes and three sizes. Simply fill with your dog's favorite food or treat and use as an engaging mealtime feeder. KONG toys are made in the USA of durable, non-toxic material, and are great for puppies and adult dogs alike.
The Ruffwear Gnawt-A-Rock is a durable dog toy that's perfect for keeping your dog busy. It's made from durable, chew-resistant natural rubber, and features a faceted surface and erratic bounce for hours of fetching fun.
Training your dog is another great way to keep them mentally and physically active. It also increases their confidence and helps strengthen the human-animal bond. Search online for dog training videos or articles to help you get started. You could even build an obstacle course in your yard to teach your dog basic agility training.
Finally, we recommend experimenting with different ways to exercise your dog indoors. Treasure hunts, games of fetch on the stairs, or hide and seek are all great options. Whatever you do, remember to have fun and enjoy bonding with your pet!