Keeping You and Your Dog Happy and Healthy During the Coronavirus Pandemic
We’re living in uncertain times. While it may feel as if you’ll never be able to go to a dog park again, rest assured there will come a time when you and your pooch will be able to enjoy this simple pleasure once more. But until then, it’s important that you don’t neglect your dog’s needs while you’re on lockdown. Here are some effective ways to help keep you and your dog happy and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Importance of Social Distancing and Staying Home
There’s a reason why you’re receiving daily messages about staying home, practicing safe distancing, and frequent handwashing. Simply put, it saves lives. We’re only going to be able to manage this pandemic if we all participate. If not, the virus will continue to spread and lockdown restrictions will be tightened for an extended period of time. Here are a few tips to do your part in flattening the pandemic curve.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), reducing your contact with others is essential because COVID-19 is spread from person to person. Social distancing means staying home, only making necessary trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, and avoiding crowded places where you’re more apt to have close contact with others. This is why places like restaurants and movie theaters are closed and sporting events, festivals, and conferences have been canceled. Even the Olympics was rescheduled for the first time in history. When you do have to make essential trips outside your home, the CDC recommends trying to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.
It’s important to note that COVID-19 can spread from person to person even before symptoms become evident. So, even before you or someone in your family starts to feel slightly ill, achy, exhausted, or run-down, it's important to stay home 100 percent (not even essential trips; use a delivery service) and practice self-isolation, which means you avoid all contact with others. If more severe symptoms develop, such as a heavy chest, cough, fever, or shortness of breath, call your doctor to see whether or not you should/could get tested.
If it is believed that you or someone in your household has COVID-19, you’ll have to go into quarantine-mode, which is a lot like self-isolation. The difference is that it’s used to describe the individuals who were exposed to a person who was diagnosed with the virus but has yet to test positive. They need to stay away from others for 14 days+ as a preventative measure to not spread the virus during the incubation period.
You, COVID-19, and Your Dog
In the unfortunate event that you or someone in your household contracts COVID-19, public health officials strongly recommend that the infected person(s) avoid contact with pets as a precautionary measure until more information is known about the virus. If possible, give all dog-related duties to another member of your family. If this is not possible (perhaps you live alone), abide by the rules established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes avoiding close contact with your pet (kissing, sleeping, hugging, etc.), wearing a mask, regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and thoroughly washing your hands before and after any interaction with pets. You should also wash up after sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, or touching your face or mouth.
Fun Things to Do With Your Dog Inside
Sure, we know you miss those long walks, dog parks, and doggy play dates, yet there are alternative (safer) ways to keep your dog active while enjoying some quality time together. Playtime is a necessity and not a luxury for dogs because it improves physical health, provides mental stimulation, is a great bonding activity, and is an effective way to train your pooch. Here’s how to keep your dog entertained indoors.
Puzzle toys (much like games for dogs) are great because they prevent boredom and allow for curiosity without the potentially destructive or dangerous (getting into something harmful, for example) side effects. It’s possible that you may not always be available to play a game of tug or fetch with your pooch, so dog toys that keep them busy on their own are the easiest solution to prevent a chewed up couch or pair of shoes. They also provide comfort, so they’re nice to have around in case your dog has some additional stress and/or anxiety during this time.
Tug of War
Contrary to what you may have heard, playing with tug toys can help your dog build confidence, provide mental and physical stimulation, and help expel pent-up energy. Look for dog tug toys like a classic rope, rubber handle tug toy, and stuffed toys for smaller dogs with a lighter “tug.” Keep in mind that while tug toys won’t make your dog aggressive, they can exacerbate combative tendencies if they are already present. Opt for a different toy if that’s the case.
While it’s likely that you don’t have space to effectively play fetch indoors, hall ball is another great bonding activity that keeps your dog moving. Simply toss a small bouncing ball down a long hall where your dog can safely run. Once the ball is returned to you, repeat!
Giving Each Other Space
While most dogs will overall love you being home, they can get annoyed with their owners, too. Learn how to read your dog’s body language with these signs.
- Pulls away or avoids your touch
- Stiffens up
- Whimpers and whines
- Tucked in tale
- Urinates on things
- Flattened ears
- Won’t obey commands
- Avoids eye contact
- Licks lips when not around food
- Whites of eyes are prevalent
If you notice any of these signs in your dog, be sure to give them a little bit of space. Sometimes dogs need to relax and recharge on their own. But don’t worry, they’ll be back to their spunky self and ready for the next round of playtime!
Encourage Pet-Friendly Activities with KONG Box
Since you are likely going to be indoors more, playtime is important now more than ever before. From a mental perspective, your pooch gets cabin fever just like you. This could lead to behavioral problems such as excessive chewing, biting, barking, and even eating. Take out the guesswork about how to keep a dog entertained with a customized KONG Box that can provide you with the right toys to negate these behaviors. Simply tell us a little bit about your dog and we’ll do the rest.