Many people are staying at home, in constant contact with their pets, and they are noticing more problems. Yet, not all these newly discovered problems are true issues for pets, and many can be successfully managed until business returns to normal. (Yes, male dogs do have nipples—they are not ticks.) To help you and your pet cope during the COVID-19 pandemic, follow this list of essentials. 

#1: Stock up on your pet’s supplies

The first wave of panic over the lack of toilet paper appears to have passed, but some people are struggling to find other supplies. Pet necessities seem to be scarce, as pet owners struggle to have food, treats, and other items shipped to their home from out-of-stock manufacturers. Ensure your furry pal has all she needs by stocking up on the essentials, including medications and parasite preventives. Follow stay-at-home orders, and purchase your pet’s prescription medications, diet, and other necessities through Alpine Animal Hospital’s online pharmacy. Your pet’s prescriptions will be double-checked by our team, and on approval, shipped straight to your front door from the manufacturer. Order well in advance, as many companies are experiencing shipping delays.

#2: Provide mental stimulation and physical activity for your pet

While you and your pet are cooped up at home under the COVID-19 quarantine, unable to visit your favorite dog parks, training classes, or pet stores, you should ward off boredom in your pet, which could lead to stress, anxiety, or problem behaviors, with fun diversions. Try the following enrichment activities with your four-legged friend:

  • Life’s a puzzle — Toss out your pet’s food dish and use a food puzzle instead. A stuffed Kong, commercial puzzle, or DIY puzzle can provide plenty of entertainment, encouraging your pet to work for her meals. You can create a simple puzzle with a muffin tin, placing pieces of kibble in each hole, and covering the holes with tennis balls. You can also fold over the ends of cardboard tubes that are filled with food, and watch your pet work to unravel her meal.
  • Talent time — Put on a pet talent show. With the entire family stuck at home, use the time by having each family member teach your pet a new command. Once your furry pal has learned her new skills, display her talents, and choose the neatest trick.
  • Up, over, and around — Build an indoor agility course with furniture, books, and other objects in your home. Lure your pet—your cat, too—over jumps and through weave poles for a perfect round.   

#3: Offer a quiet place for your pet to relax

During the COVID-19 pandemic, your pet’s daily routine is disrupted as much as yours. She is likely confused about the entire family being at home and seldom leaving, which greatly reduces naptime hours. As the kids go stir crazy under the social distancing order, your pet may feel the extra strain of being their only playmate. Create a safe, quiet place where your four-legged friend can relax away from the hubbub, and warn your kids that the area is off-limits when your pet is resting. 

#4: Keep your pet safe during home-improvement and craft projects

You may have extra free time on your hands while under quarantine that you’d like to put to good use, tackling that squeaky stair, peeling paint, or leaky faucet. While a helping hand is nice, keep your curious pet out of harm’s way. Power tools, paint, and small parts can create hazards for your pet if stepped on, or ingested. 

To entertain the kids, you may create an arts and crafts headquarters, stocked with glitter, paint, glue, popsicle sticks, fuzzy pom-poms, and googly eyes. These items may intrigue a child, and may also entice your pet into trying a sample, leading to a potential toxicity exposure, or gastrointestinal obstruction. During all projects, supervise your pet closely, or give her her own project, such as a stuffed Kong or food puzzle, in a separate room.

#5: Contact Alpine Animal Hospital if your pet requires essential veterinary care

While every aspect of veterinary care is essential for your pet’s health and well-being, not all services are essential during a pandemic, and should be rescheduled after business returns to normal. To preserve scarce medical supplies and limit potential disease transmission, we ask that you reschedule the following nonessential services:

  • Spay and neuter surgeries
  • Vaccination boosters for older pets
  • Grooming and nail trims

Of course, we will still be available to care for sick or injured pets, and to provide veterinary services to pets who cannot wait. Situations that constitute essential care include:

  • Puppy and kitten vaccinations
  • Sick pets who have diarrhea, are vomiting or lethargic, or have not eaten for more than 24 hours
  • Painful pets who are limping, or cannot get comfortable
  • Accidents, injuries, toxin exposures, or acute problems that suddenly appear, and do not resolve quickly
  • Euthanasia

Despite these troubling times, no pet should suffer unnecessarily, and we will ensure your beloved companion receives prompt veterinary care during an emergency. For questions about your pet’s health, and whether you are noticing a true emergency, contact us.