How to Keep Your Pets Stress-Free and Happy During the Covid Lockdown - Wagr - The Smart Petcare Platform

How to Keep Your Pets Stress-Free and Happy During the Covid Lockdown

“2021 will be different,” we all said. Yet, here we are. The pandemic still raging. Amidst another strict lockdown. While countries the world over take tottering steps towards recovery, Indians are grappling with a serious second wave. We hide indoors, afraid to even step out for a simple walk. 

So, what of our pets? 

Last year’s lockdown prompted a flurry of adoptions and pet purchases across the world  prompted by the forced social isolation and the ensuing loneliness. India has been no different. 

Pup adoption rates have jumped by 50-100% while cat adoption has gone up by around 40%, estimates Ganesh Ramani, GM India, Mars Petcare

Source: Hindu Businessline

Pets help us cope with the stress of Covid but what happens to them? Pets can sense doom-and-gloom and can easily get affected too. 

How can we care for our pets during the coronavirus lockdown? Here are a few pointers to keep them healthy and happy.

Watch out for signs of stress

 How-to-Keep-Your-Pets-Stress-Free-and-Happy-During-the-Covid-Lockdown-cat-lying-down-in-a-white-background.

A lockdown changes routines for everyone. That includes your pet dogs and cats. Last year, Dog’s Trust survey in the UK found that 26% of dog owners reported behavioral issues since the lockdown. Dogs everywhere are the same and it’s important to watch out for signs of stress in your companions caused by reduced activity, increased presence of adults, and other factors. These signs can include

  1. more barking and whining

  2. toilet accidents indoors

  3. biting and nipping

  4. fear of loud noises 

  5. loss of appetite

  6. shrinking away from people

Keep them active

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You can’t go for long walks with your dog and you can’t let your cat roam free. Don’t allow boredom to set in due to this inactivity though, devise some alternative methods to keep them occupied instead. It’s pertinent to keep pets active indoors to avoid the onset of stress. Here are a few ideas to begin with
  1. organise a treasure hunt. Hide treats and toys, and train them to find them as a reward. You can even put their food bowls in different corners and encourage them to seek them out. 

  2. fine tune their habits and train them for new behaviours. Did your dog have trouble mastering the ‘sit-and-wait’ command? Want to teach them how to put away their own toys? Now is the time to renew your efforts to train them for new behaviours and fine tune existing ones.

  3. create miniature obstacle courses appropriate for the size of your dog or cat. Set up small steps, create tunnels, ramps, and put in other small objects to encourage them to move more. If you have the space for it, you can create a small maze too and help them think their way out of it.

Maintain a healthy emotional distance

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A lockdown means more time to spend with your pets. No doubt, you would be tempted to play and cuddle them more, showering them with more affection than they are used to. And then, the lockdown ends, life changes again. If these transformations are difficult for humans, it’s extremely confusing for pets and they experience separation anxiety. Avoid this by following some of these steps 
  1. stick to a usual routine with designated meal and activity times

  2. set separate time slots for playing games and spending time together

  3. get puzzle toys to keep them occupied and away from you 

  4. for cats, you could get special cat tree frames and scratch posts

  5. try to start and finish work at the same time everyday to maintain the normalcy they are used to 

Give them their ‘me’ time

How- to- Keep- Your -Pets- Stress-Free- -and- Happy- During- the -Covid- Lockdown-dog-lying-down-on-its-bed
A regular workday means your pets are used to having a few quiet minutes to themselves, pondering over life working on their chewy toys. It’s very important to spend time away from your pets to keep their nerves calm and help them adjust to more normal times. If you have a front or a backyard, let your pet wander around alone. It helps them replenish their energy reserves and look forward to being with you. 
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Following these steps help immensely when you need to ease back into post-lockdown routines. The changes are less jarring and your pets are more understanding of your work-related absences. You rely more on your pet during these troubled times. Show them you love them too by taking extra care of them.

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