The Novel Coronavirus hasn’t only spread disease around the globe; it’s also rapidly spread worldwide panic. In the midst of all the supply-hoarding and quarantine-planning, we’re forgetting the members of our society who have four legs and fluffy tails. Though the virus affects our pets differently than it affects us, our furry friends’ lives are just as chaotic.
To be clear, Veterinary Centers of America, the WHO, and the CDC have all stated that COVID-19 can’t harm your beloved dog or cat. Also, animals can’t pass the virus to you or your loved ones. However, unfounded fears are causing many owners to abandon their animals or surrender them to shelters. Furthermore, when pet owners have needed to evacuate their homes or go to the hospital to treat the virus, they had to leave behind their pets. These pets typically only have enough food and water to last a few days. That means that these homeless pets are now starving, though rescuers around the globe are working hard to save as many as they can.
If you’re in a position to adopt a new pet, now is a great time to do so. When else will you have so many weeks at home to train and bond with a new furry friend?
Please remember, though, that adopting a pet is a lifelong commitment. Only consider adoption if you’re financially stable and can still care for the animal once your work or school resumes. If you can’t justify bringing home a new pet for the long haul, consider temporarily fostering a pet instead. Likewise, you could donate blankets and food to your local shelters. Even just spreading the word about pet adoption and reminding your friends that animals need their help makes a big difference.
Additionally, your own pets likely feel some anxiety right now. If the quarantine is causing you stress, they can sense your unease, and may worry too.
Your pet can’t comprehend that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. They can’t tell you how they feel, and you can’t explain to them why you feel so tense. There’s no way to help them understand the situation. However, taking some extra time to love on and play with your animals can help them feel better and provide much-needed mental stimulation. Playing with your pets might even cheer you up, too.
Many pets are creatures of routine. As a dog owner, I know that my own pups aren’t huge fans of change. My dogs love going to daycare and playing with their friends while I’m at work. Now, we’re all home because both their daycare and my office are closed for the foreseeable future. I know that my dogs love this extra time with me, but I can see the confusion in their eyes as they try to adjust to our new life in quarantine. Furthermore, they’ll need to adjust back to their old routine again in a few weeks, when this situation (hopefully) ends.
It’s common for pets to misbehave out of anxiety or confusion. Don’t show frustration if your dog whines a bit more often or if your cat is extra clingy. As your pets adapt to their temporary new lifestyles, please be patient with them and shower them with love.
Finally, remember to shop for your pets’ necessities while you still can. We care so much about hoarding our own personal stock piles of toilet paper and pasta that many of us forget that our pets need food, too. If you’re brave enough to set foot in a grocery store right now, make sure that you pick up your pet’s food if you see it in stock. If you do notice that your pet’s food is running low, place an online order sooner rather than later. The pet food will ship to you eventually, even if it takes a bit longer than normal.
Our pets don’t have a voice, so it’s important for us to step up and care for their needs. Remember that our pets mirror our fear even though they don’t usually know what causes our anxiety. So in these times, be there for your pets just like they’re always there for you.Your animals deserve a little extra TLC!