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Health experts and government officials agree that social distancing is the most effective way to stop the spread of Covid 19 in our region, country and across the globe. Staying home with your pet can be a positive, bonding experience for you both. It also means taking extra precautions during dog walks, stocking up on necessary food and pet care products and  developing a new routine at home.

Pets and pet owners can rejoice in having more time together and more opportunities to play, get out for walks and bond. Some pets will find the change to their lives to be unsettling, and can have a variety of reactions to the adjustment to their lifestyle. It’s important to establish a routine for your pet, to help them adapt as comfortably as possible.

Stocking up on their food and pet care products is also crucial to maintaining appropriate social distancing. You won’t want to have to run out to the store every few days for cat litter, dog food, new toys, a replacement leash, etc.

Dog owners will also need to be extra mindful during walks and outdoor play time. It’s important to keep your distance from other dog owners while out and about, and to avoid letting others pet or rub on your dog with bare hands.

Here are simple tips to help you safely keep your social distance with your favorite pet.

Establish a Routine

If you’ve never worked from home, your pet is likely not used to you being around all the time. While this might be exciting for them, it can also cause some uncertainty and confusion. Establish a routine for them, right away, and stick to it. Wake up at the same time each day, feed them on the same schedule, take dogs on walks at the same time and indulge in play time on a daily schedule. While we know this takes some of the fun and spontaneity out of your day, it will help your pet to relax and feel settled sooner.

Extra Playtime

If your dog was used to playing at the dog park each day or going on exciting hiking adventures at suddenly closed state parks, it’s time to amp up the playtime and exercise. Purchase a few stimulating toys for use indoors, or buy a new ball or throw toy to play with in empty spaces while out for walks. If your pet is showing signs of distress or having extra energy, giving them additional attention and mental stimulation will help to settle their minds.

Stock Up

To avoid going to the store often, stock up on pet supplies to last you for two weeks at a time. This means, storing enough food, toys, leashes, collars, litter and any other pet care supplies your pet relies on. Should a mandatory stay at home order be issued, this will truly allow you to avoid leaving unless absolutely necessary.

Feeding Schedule & Extra Exercise

Try to keep your pet on the same feeding schedule they know. This will avoid restless eating and weight gain that can wreak havoc on different breeds of dog and cat. It also creates a sense of consistency and a routine that pets can relax and rely on. Getting in extra exercise may also be paramount to your pet’s happiness during these times. Head out more often for walks with your dog, give your kitty extra play time with the laser pointer or feather wand, and when in doubt, keep them moving.

Maintain a Peaceful Home Environment

Your pet may be unsettled no matter how many preventative steps you take. Try to maintain a calm and peaceful environment for them at home, to help them find quiet, get extra sleep and get adjusted. This means avoiding loud, raucous music and keeping the volume at a comfortable level during conference calls or web ex meetings. Remember that this change is a big one for your pet, and they won’t have any way to understand why. Give them as much peace and calm at home to help them adapt with ease.