During the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are worrying about the health and well-being of your family, friends, and coworkers, which may leave little room for planning every aspect of your pet’s care during quarantine. Although you’re taking on new roles during this crisis, such as teacher, remote worker, and master chef, you’re already familiar with an important one—pet caretaker. You have never cared for a pet during a global pandemic before, but you have all the skills and resources necessary to provide top-notch TLC for your best friend. Still, to ensure you don’t miss any crucial steps, we’ve outlined five tips to simplify caring for your pet during a pandemic. 

#1: Stock up on your pet’s supplies well in advance

Toilet paper is not the only necessity in short supply. Major pet-food manufacturers are also running into issues keeping up with demand. Online marketplaces frequently display out-of-stock messages, and shipping is often delayed. To ensure your pet has all the essentials, give yourself at least a week when placing an order for food, treats, or medications.  If you haven’t yet discovered Purina Proplan’s easy-to-use home delivery program called Pro Plan Vet Direct, you’ll be delighted to know that it provides the freshest supplies with free shipping right to your door. Pro Plan Vet Direct offers a wide variety of cat and dog food, treats, and nutritional supplements, such as probiotics for intestinal health and Calming Care for anxiety.  We encourage you to use this program to practice social distancing and remain safe at home. 

Some of your pet’s prescription medications, and heartworm, flea, and tick preventives, may be in short supply, so call us in advance, to ensure we have the prescription available, filled, and ready for you. Again, allow at least a week before a refill is necessary, to ensure it’s in stock.

#2: Create a safe haven for your pet during quarantine

Your kids likely should still be in school at this point, and having them home while you try to adjust to your new normal may be driving you nuts. Your pet is probably wondering why her long days of frequent naps have been so disrupted, and why no one is leaving the house. If coping with the quarantine situation, and the kids’ pent-up energy, is stressing your pet, create a safe haven where she can retreat and relax—like a storm bunker for pets with storm phobias. Design a cozy spot with a warm bed, a food puzzle, and her favorite toys. If you’re lucky, there may also be room for you.

#3: Provide mental and physical enrichment for your pet at home

Since pet stores, dog parks, or typically crowded city squares are off-limits during social distancing, find fun ways to entertain your pet at home. Unfortunately, you can’t seat your four-legged friend at the arts and crafts table, like you can your children, but you can provide plenty of mental and physical activities. Here are a few to get started:

  • Research recipes — Research Kong stuffing recipes to discover your pet’s favorite mix. Add the concoction to your pet’s Kong, and freeze overnight for a longer-lasting treat. 
  • Hunt for “eggs” — Head to the backyard for a late Easter egg hunt. Hide small pet treats around your yard, and see how many “eggs” your dog can find without help. Take care to avoid areas treated with fertilizers, herbicides, and other chemicals.
  • Play games — Create homemade games out of cardboard boxes and crumpled paper, such as Whack-a-Mole, or a “snuffle box.” 

Take steps to remain active while staying home, to ensure your furry pal stays slim and trim. Although lounging on the couch and overeating is tempting, additional weight can harm your pet’s health.

#4: Practice preventive measures to avoid pet emergencies during quarantine

If you’re stuck at home, you’re likely trying to tackle home improvement projects and deep cleaning. You are no doubt carefully watching your children, who are cooped up at home and out of school, but your pet may have ample opportunity to find hazards, such as cleaning products, disinfectants, power tools, glue, paint, and lawn and garden chemicals. If your furry pal is exposed to a toxic or hazardous situation, contact Bassler Veterinary Hospital immediately for support. In an emergency situation, follow the American Veterinary Medical Association’s resources on providing first aid, to stabilize your pet until you reach our hospital.

#5: Contact our hospital for concerns about your pet’s health

We are doing our best to protect our team, and our community, from the threat COVID-19 poses to human health, by changing our operating procedures and maintaining social distancing edicts. We have safe curbside service protocols to care for sick and injured pets. If your pet develops vomiting or diarrhea, or is lethargic, reluctant to eat, or in pain, contact us, and we will schedule an appointment to find your pet relief. We are also completing puppy and kitten vaccination series, as appropriate immunization during the correct time frame is essential for your young pet’s health. 

Although you may not think you can groom your pet, you certainly can learn how to trim your four-legged pal’s nails or clean her ears, thus helping to keep your family, and our team, safe from potential disease transmission. With proper social distancing, we can limit the spread of COVID-19, get back to normal as soon as possible, and trim your exuberant Lab’s nails again.

If you are unsure whether your pet is in a situation that requires immediate veterinary care, give us a call, and we can triage your pet’s problem.