Whether you’re under a self-imposed or work-mandated quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re likely spending a lot of time at home. While your dog is overjoyed to have you nearby all day long, your cat may be less tolerant of interrupted naptime. Despite your pet’s excitement during social isolation practices, she will require changes to her daily routine, to ensure she is happy and healthy. Follow our guidelines to help keep your furry pal in tip-top shape during the pandemic.
How to stock up on pet supplies during a pandemic
Like toilet paper and pantry staples, pet supplies may also run low during this crisis. You may find a limited amount of your pet products in stores, or discover your pet’s normal food is completely out of stock. Similar situations are also occurring with online pet-product marketplaces, such as Chewy and Amazon. Ensure your four-legged friend has plenty of supplies stockpiled, ideally for 30 days. Include the following items:
- Parasite prevention
Ask your family veterinarian for an extra refill or two of your pet’s medication, to avoid running out, or if an online pharmacy can ship prescriptions to your door. If you’re struggling to find your pet’s regular food and treats, and need to substitute, remember to switch over slowly, to avoid gastrointestinal upset.
How to exercise your pet during a pandemic
What better time to catch up on all the latest Netflix series than while you are quarantined? However, you may enjoy lounging around, but your pet still needs exercise for her mental and physical health. Try sticking to your regular routine, but avoid places that often have large crowds, such as dog parks, pet stores, and the neighborhood’s favorite hiking trails. Find spots off the beaten path to exercise your pooch, or play fetch in your backyard. To encourage your cat to be physically active, stimulate her with toys that cater to her predatory nature, such as robotic mice and feather wands, that will entice her to stalk and pounce. You can also move a climbing tower in front of a window, where your cat can perch, and keep an eye on the neighborhood birds.
For cats and dogs, ditch the food dish, and feed your pet from a food puzzle, which will not only occupy her attention longer, but also help reduce boredom through mental stimulation. Stuffed Kongs, snuffle mats, or kibble hidden in a box filled with crumpled newspaper are great distraction methods.
How to know when your pet requires veterinary care during a pandemic
As a dedicated pet owner, you may want to rush your beloved companion to your veterinarian for every ailment. But, during this crisis, we recommend managing some conditions at home, to conserve medical resources, and limit potential disease transmission. Some conditions will require veterinary care, and differentiating can be tough, so contact your family veterinarian or our team if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health and well-being. Otherwise, follow these guidelines for common emergency conditions:
- Vomiting or diarrhea — Pets occasionally get into items they shouldn’t, which can induce a bout of vomiting or diarrhea, especially since the kids are home from school and “sharing” snacks, toys, and craft projects. If your pet experiences numerous vomiting or diarrhea sessions in a short amount of time, or if she continues for longer than 24 hours, she needs veterinary attention.
- Limping — Occasionally, your pet may strain or sprain a muscle when playing, and limp on the affected limb. If your pet cannot bear any weight on a limb, or move well, or is in obvious discomfort, schedule her an appointment rather than waiting to see if she simply needs rest.
- Change in drinking or eating habits — While the amount your pet eats or drinks per day may fluctuate a little, a major difference can signal a medical issue. If your pet refuses to eat, or drinks excessively for more than 24 hours, it’s time to schedule an appointment.
- Change in urination or defecation — Although you may appreciate your pet not urinating or defecating, lack of elimination is a serious problem that requires immediate veterinary care. Excessive urination, or blood in the stool or urine, can also indicate an issue that needs veterinary attention.
While you can’t handle all medical emergencies at home, you can provide first aid care to stabilize your pet until you can reach your family veterinarian, or our team. For more information on performing first aid care on your pet, check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s resources.
Our Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center is still open to provide care for your pet during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are not allowing clients in our lobby. Give us a call to discuss your pet’s health issue before heading to our hospital, and we can provide guidance on the next step needed to care for your furry friend.