While everyone is staying indoors during the coronavirus pandemic to flatten the curve, our pets are also being forced to do the same. Self-isolating can be as difficult and stressful for pets as it is for their owners.  The change in their routine—no more daily walks and visits from regular guests—can contribute to stress and boredom. So, here are some tips for pet care during the lockdown.

Being locked inside is not easy for anyone, and pet cats and dogs are sure to find this change more stressful as they cannot understand why it must be so. The good news is that while we’re adjusting to lockdown life, there are many pet care tips during lockdown that can be followed to help our four-legged friends feel more comfortable in these uncertain times. 

Also Read: Hilarious Things That Happen While People Are Working From Home With Pets

11 Pet Care Tips During Lockdown To Keep In Mind

1Create A Safe Space For Your Pet

Funny cat festival

The first thing you should do as a pet owner is to create a safe spot in your house for your pet, where they can enjoy some quiet time (yes, animals need this too!). This can be a spare room, a quiet corner, space under a desk, or even a lined wooden crate, or any space that’s not too hot or too cold. Put your pet’s bed here, along with some of their favourite toys. 

2Make Sure That They Get Enough Sleep

Pet bedding for you pet's travel packing

Most pets, especially dogs and cats, sleep during the day while their families are at work or school. So, having people constantly around means they’re more stimulated and thus not getting the rest they are usually used to. Both adult dogs and cats sleep for about 14 hours a day, while puppies and kittens need more. Make sure your pets have a quiet space away from work calls and noisy kids to catch up on their sleep. 

3Keep Your Pets Indoors As Much As You Can 

Another tip for pet care during the lockdown is not to take your pets out any more than necessary during the coronavirus pandemic. As much as possible, try walking your pets within your residence, garden, or garage, and if you do take them out for a short walk go back home as soon as they are done with their business. Walking routes may be busier than usual with other walkers and cyclists, or runners, so try to avoid busy times and crowded routes. 

4Try To Give Them Lots Of Physical Exercise  

Photograph of a dog running along a beach in Menorca. Boxer brown.

While you may be restricted in how many walks you can take outside, being cooped up and inactive for long periods might make your pet prone to depression and anxiety. Look for innovative ways to keep them physically active, such as playing fetch, climbing staircases, or running around the garden if you have one.

5Provide Your Pet With Mental Stimulation

Just like physical stimulation, it’s very important to provide mental stimulation for your pets. It’s a very important tip for pet care during the lockdown as it gives them something to do. It’s an excellent time to teach your pet a new trick, or hide food and toys and let them sniff it out. You could also fill some toys with food like peanut butter and let them slowly eat it to keep them occupied during an important call. 

6Bathe Your Pet Often, Especially After Spending Time Outside

Consider increasing the frequency of your pet’s baths, especially if you often go for walks outside. Follow disinfection practices as soon as you get home. Wash your dog’s feet, wipe them down with a clean, wet towel to remove dust and debris, then use baby wipes or other pet-friendly sanitizing solution to wipe down your pet a second time. Also, remember to always properly and hygienically dispose of any waste and stock up on enough litter bags to avoid unnecessary contamination. 

7Also, Keep Your Pet Well-Groomed

Grooming kit for your pet's travel packing

Pet care and grooming are important at all times, but more so now than ever. Grooming services may be inaccessible for the foreseeable future. So, for pets with long hair or nails that need regular trimming, you’re going to have to do it yourself. Remember to be careful with grooming equipment such as scissors to avoid injuring yourself and your pet. 

8Lower Your Pet’s Food Intake By At Least 10% 

Two cats and a dog sit down at a banquet table - Pet friendly restaurants and food places

With reduced exercise, your pets won’t be able to burn many calories. So cut down on their food servings and try a low-fat diet. Since you’re at home with your pets all the time, you might be tempted to feed them off the table or offer treats to keep them happy. Avoid doing this in excess so that your pet remains healthy and so that you don’t run out of food. Additionally, remember to always have lots of water available. 

9Stock Up On Food, Medicines, And Other Essentials

medication on table

These are difficult times, and you never know when your local shops may run out of the supplies you need. So, another tip for pet care during the lockdown is to stock up on some essentials for your pet, just like you stock up for yourself. Consider using online pet stores instead of physical ones to minimise contact. This includes pet food, grooming materials, anti-flea/tick treatments, deworming medicine, and medicines for reducing fever, stopping vomiting etc. But, make sure you leave enough for other pet owners and DO NOT HOARD. 

10Keep An Eye On Your Pet’s Health And Well-being

Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date or check if any are due for a booster soon. Find out which are urgent and which can be postponed by calling your vet. Occasionally give them a basic physical once-over (ears, eyes, mouth, teeth, coat, etc) and ensure that they’re eating well and are generally active. 

11Know Where To Take Your Pet In Case Of An Emergency

Happy veterinarian examining medical documents of a dog.

Keep in touch with your vet over the phone, and call them if you see any symptoms of sickness. Most pet owners can assess the urgency of a condition via video consultation. A pet care tip during lockdown would be to keep a list handy of nearby veterinary clinics that are open, (along with their contact information) in case of an emergency. 

So, Which Of These Tips Will You Be Following? 

These are difficult times but being there for your pets will help to make the transition smoother for everyone. But it is also important to be flexible – the change to life in lockdown is tough for both pets and pet-parents. So if your dog or cat regresses in their training, or displays new undesirable behaviours, be patient and prepared to make adjustments. Seek guidance from a reputable trainer or counsellor if you feel that you need more help. But, above all else, enjoy this time. While the world feels so unfamiliar, our pets are a great source of joy; so it’s essential they feel safe too.

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