How should you look after your pets during self isolation? They will be affected by the change too.
There is a lot going on in the world at the moment. Increasingly, pet owners are spending more time at home. I know most pet owners have always wanted this. But this will be an adjustment for both the pet and the owner as being together all the time is unusual.
Pets like their own space and routine. As it has been mentioned in the press, it is uncertain times with the corona virus.
Here are a few tips for keeping your pets happy during self isolation.
Corona virus and pets
The World Health Organisation said pets can't catch corona virus. The virus is transmitted from human to human but the virus can survive on surfaces.
Good hygiene should be continued and this includes washing your hands after handling or touching pets. Also, don't let pets lick your face.
Give pets space
Some pets will love having attention and people around all of the time. Others may find it hard to adjust, after all, it is a big change. The pets have gone from having an empty house for most of the week to having the whole family at home most of the time. Listen to your pets needs. Their body language will tell you what they are feeling.
I know I will have to watch that one of my children doesn't pester the cat too much. Although Ginger will take herself off eventually. She will tolerate cuddles even when she has had enough of them. I can tell by her face! Also her ears go back.
Keep to routine
Some pets prefer routine more than others. This is a strange situation to be in, so keeping some routine is best. For example keeping to the same meal times, walks, bedtimes. Humans have a particular body clock and my cat certainly does. If the kiddies don't go upstairs at their normal bedtime, she will go up and wait for them in the hallway.
Mental stimulation and physical exercise
Dogs in particular will need regular exercising and mental stimulation. Owners will find that if they don't, pets will get bored, show signs of distress or display unwelcome behaviour. (There is nothing worse than your pet not letting you sleep at night.)
Cats are usually self sufficient with their mental stimulation and physical exercise. They are more likely to be over stimulated as aren't used to people around. However, if you are stuck for ideas, please read my previous article on activities for cats.
Watch out for your pet's stress and anxiety
Disorders such as stress and anxiety have an effect on the body and can cause physical illness in humans. This is the same in animals. International Cat Care has a really good article about stress in cats and lists what to look out for.
How to help? The owner should try and keep to the pets normal routine as much as possible. Obviously this will be difficult. If your pet shows signs of distress, contact your vet. There are supplements that can be bought to help which I mentioned in my fireworks article.
Make sure that you have enough of any of your pets medication. This includes the usual flea and worm treatments. The online shops are experiencing a lot more orders than usual and delivery can be delayed.
Food and cat litter
The supermarkets seem to have food on the shelves but not fully stocked as normal. If your pet only likes a specific brand, make sure you have enough in. No need to panic buy as deliveries are continuing.
If your pet has a prescription diet, like medication, make sure you have enough in. Deliveries may be delayed and online shopping orders may take longer than usual.
Cat litter has been in short supply - probably due to people buying it in case they are self isolating. Hopefully, supplies will be replenished shortly. There is usually Catsan available but I haven't used that for my cat before as it is expensive. My cat has been rather fussy over cat litter recently so I have quite a range. I am really hoping she will use it!
Have to visit the vets?
At the moment the local vets are open but they have specific advice for visitors. First and foremost, they would like to reduce the amount of visitors to their practice. So if you take a pet or are collecting food/medication, just one person is to go rather then the usual family outing. They are maintaining high hygiene and spacing the waiting room chairs out.
Dogs need walks still. Just be sensible and don't walk too close to other people. At the moment, the advice is to stay 2m away from other people. Obviously this may be harder with some dogs as they just want to say hello to people.
If your pet is ill, ring the vets and see what they suggest. Sometimes, they are able to offer advice over the phone. Pets can deteriorate quickly so seek veterinary treatment immediately.
Please give careful consideration to your pets during self isolation. They won't all be pleased with self isolation either. Some will love having you around all the time but it will be an adjustment for all of us. It will be quite a shock for everyone and their pets when things go back to normal.
Ginger is always ready for the children to go back to school after the Easter break. I'm sure it will be the same this time.
The only plus point is people sharing more pictures of their pets while they are working from home. It is so nice to see happy pictures and funny comments in such a worrying situation.
I hope everyone reading this stays well and enjoys the extra time spent with pets.
Look after yourself as well as your pet!
Any questions or thoughts, please feel free to contact me.