The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world on its head. Almost every aspect of daily life has been altered — from having to work from home to completely limiting your time spent outdoors. These times are unpredictable and can be overwhelming, for you and your pet.
Though your pets might not know what’s going on, they have likely seen a complete shift in their day-to-day routine. Whether that means fewer (or more) walks, no visits to the doggy daycare, or simply having you home every day, a change in routine can mean anxiety for your pet. As a pet owner, navigating these circumstances may be challenging for you.
Here’s what you need to know about managing the “stay at home” orders with pets regarding pet food, exercise, and the benefits of having a pet right now.
What Foods are Safe for Pets?
Unfortunately, the crisis has resulted in mass panic-buying that has made it difficult to source common items, including pet food. The result is that pet owners might have to get creative when it comes to feeding their pets. But it’s important to know what human foods are safe for your pets to eat.
While it’s ideal to have an emergency kit with enough food to last 2 weeks, if you run out, you’ll need to come up with a menu that will ensure that your pet is getting enough food on a daily basis.
Unsafe Foods for Pets
While it may seem convenient to simply give your dog or cat the same food that you eat, some foods are not safe. So, before you scrape tonight’s leftovers into your pets dish, here are some foods that are not safe for either cats or dogs to eat:
- Grapes or Raisins
- Bread Dough
- Raw or Uncooked Meats and Grains
- Artificial Sweeteners
Safe Foods for Pets
Now that you know which foods aren’t safe for your pets, it’s time for the foods that your pets can safely consume. Before making the switch, if possible, consider the effects that switching to these foods may have on your pet (including a change in the consistency of their poop and even sluggishness).
Keep in mind that some animals may have specific allergies to some of these foods, but they aren’t inherently dangerous to your pets. Here are the foods that cats and dogs can safely eat:
- Cooked Meats (beef, turkey, chicken, and lean deli meats)
- Cooked Grains (brown rice, couscous, millet, or quinoa)
- Canned or Cooked Fish
- Fully Cooked Eggs
Bonus: Dogs can have peanut butter as a treat. It’s delicious and nutritious, not to mention dogs love it!
How to Give Your Pet the Exercise They Need
Many of the hardest-hit areas of the country are the metropolitan areas. Residents in these areas already have challenges when it comes to ensuring that their dogs get enough exercise. Additionally, as dogs typically handle their “business” outside, it’s difficult to reduce the time that you spend outdoors.
Keep in mind, exercise isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, as every dog breed has different needs. Here are some tips that will help you give your pet the exercise they need:
- Keep your dog sharp with a maze! Set up boxes in the shape of a maze with treats at set intervals — your dog will use its nose to get to the end of the maze!
- Take your dog to the park, but be sure to stay safe with a mask and gloves.
- Go for a run with your dog!
- Pay attention to your dog’s moods. If your dog is feeling restless, be sure to schedule a time to get your dog out of the house soon.
Benefits of Having Pets Right Now
Quarantine has forced us to face unique challenges. However, it has also allowed us to appreciate the things that matter the most — including our beloved pets. There are several benefits of having pets during this time, regardless of your situation.
If you have a dog (but not a yard), you may be forced to leave the house (even on days that you don’t feel quite up to it). With the weather improving and warming in the summer months, getting some sun is beneficial. Not only does vitamin D improve our mood, it also helps to ensure that our bodies are able to function properly.
Additionally, pets can make quarantine feel a lot less lonely. Humans are social creatures, we are meant to interact with others. When we aren’t able to see our loved ones and interact with them, naturally, you may feel lonely. Pets can help us avoid those feelings of loneliness. Our furry friends’ presence can make you feel less isolated in these troubling times.
Emotional Response in Pets to Quarantine
Your routine isn’t the only one that has been turned upside down — your pets are likely picking up on your anxieties and feeling confused about the sudden changes. It’s important to pay attention to their mood and behavior changes during this time. Many pet owners have reported a number of different responses from their pets. Including, referring to their pets as their coworkers or poking fun at their pet’s obvious dismay at having them home all the time.
COVID-19 has changed so many things, but one thing it doesn’t have to change is your care and affection for your pets. In these circumstances, it’s important to focus on your loved ones including your pets. From providing your pets with the right foods in the event that you run out of food to giving your pet the right amount of exercise — quarantine makes your job a lot harder. However, knowing where to start can ease the process and make it a lot less overwhelming!