The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting our routines and this affects our pets, in some good and not so good ways. To minimise their being upset by the disruptions, the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group suggest the following:
- Pets daily lives should be kept as routine as possible.
- Continue their regular walking routine where safe to do so while ensuring social distancing is maintained.
- Dogs can still gain the benefit of physical exercise and mental stimulation without leaving the house or yard through games such as fetch, chasing a toy or hide and seek.
- Pets on behaviour medications, as with any ongoing medication, should continue to be given to them as normal and not be stopped during this time.
- Everyone needs a break from the people they live with at times and this includes pets. If you are home with your pets and children, remember to give your pets a break from the kids if the pet wants it. This may just be a chance to lie in another room or a have a rest outside. Make it a family rule that if the pets are on their bed (or other designated place) they are having a rest and must be left alone.
- If you find working at home difficult with your pet, consider restricting them from the room where you are working. A puzzle toy or device that rewards them with treats or a chewing item such as a bone may help settle them.
- While you are working at home, remember to take breaks – your pets are perfect at helping with that!