5 Pet Essentials to Help You Prepare for Self-Quarantine
We’re all cutting down on time spent out and about to prevent the spread of COVID-19. No matter what type of pet you pamper, it’s important to include at least 2 weeks of animal care items in your emergency preparedness. Here are the pet essentials to prioritize as we work to contain the novel coronavirus.
A little surplus of dry pet food will get you through the next few weeks of self-quarantine and help you to avoid those long lines at the grocery and pet stores. If you’re tempted to share food, know which human foods are safe for your pet to eat, which are considered toxic, and which ones may have malodorous consequences if they disrupt your pet’s diet. This varies by animal.
Just like we’d recommend when shopping for the human members of your family, don’t hoard more food than you need. For example, if you’re just stocking up for one pet, especially a smaller pet, grab a few small bags of food instead of big ones that are likely to go stale before you finish them. Animal shelters and people with multiple pets also need supplies during this pandemic and they can make better use of bulk items.
Maybe you’ve noticed your own increased cravings for treats as you spend more time at home. Why not hook up your pet with some savory goodness? As you’re limiting your trips outdoors, remember to monitor your pet’s treat intake to keep them healthy and happy.
As we’re practicing social distancing, many of us are homeschooling our kids or working remotely and need to distract our pets from all the new attention they’re demanding during the day. Interactive enrichment toys are available for every type of creature.
To make your dog’s squeakers, chews, and stuffed toys more engaging, you can spray them with an enticing scent or dip them in low sodium chicken broth. Hyperactive dogs might love the challenge of agility training which you can set up in your backyard and use as an excuse for fresh air. Scratching posts, tunnels, and lasers can keep cats entertained for hours. Smaller animals aren’t going to notice the isolating effects of self-quarantine, but cage accessories for birds, reptiles, and fish are always helpful for stimulating their environments.
Get creative. As hiking trails close and shelter in place orders take effect, mental exercise will be a huge benefit to your pets. Create or buy ready-made puzzles, mazes, and food dispensers or hollow toys to stuff with treats (again, don’t overdo it with the goodies). Training collars and relaxants can also help contain their energy.
Meds and Grooming
To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many vets and groomers are canceling appointments or adjusting hours as states allow. You’ll need to invest in at-home pet care. First and foremost, contact your vet to get at least a month’s supply of any medications your pet needs daily. Don’t worry so much about supplements and vitamins – those can be found online. Additional checkup supplies, like ear and eye cleanser, nail care, dental care, or flea and tick control, can also be readily purchased without leaving your home. Research your specific pet’s needs.
As for grooming, it’s never a bad idea to have brushes, clippers, and shampoo and conditioner on hand, just for regular pet hygiene. Check what type of comb is best for your pet’s type of hair. If you have a rambunctious pet, a grooming table can provide stability. And because your pet might be spending more time indoors, hair mitts, furniture covers, or strong vacuums can help corral the extra fluff.
Odor and stain removal are more like nice-to-haves for dog owners when your pet has a safe area where they can relieve themselves. You’ll simply need poop bags and scoopers, like life before quarantine. And if you have a new puppy or a dog that’s not entirely housetrained, absorbent pads and diapers can be helpful, as usual. For those in isolation, potty grass can be laid out and rinsed off on your apartment balcony, with your landlord’s permission.
With cats and smaller animals, you’ll want to stock up on litter and cleaning solutions for trays and litter boxes. Make sure to have enough fresh wood shavings, pellets, or hay to line small animal cages. Wiping down these areas is important for preventing the harbor and spread of germs. For terrariums and aquariums, make sure you have the suction, algae scrapers, gravel rakes, and scoops to keep your air clean.
Beds and blankets, condos and cat trees. These are everyday essentials, but now that your pet wants to be at your side all day, you might want a comfy place for your furry friend to relax. Having a pet close by is great for your own mental wellness, but it will also keep your pet out of trouble if they’re used to being crated. If your pet wanders free indoors, consider using curtains or shades to block any sights and sounds that could get them amped up. This will help limit any stressors as you adjust to a homebound lifestyle. To protect your pet outside, look at gates, kennels, and tie-out stakes.
While public transportation should be used with discretion, car travel and carrier items like crates can help when you’re on your way to ride out the quarantine with family or to exercise in a remote outdoor location.
Self-quarantine can be mentally taxing, but our furry friends can be a huge source of comfort and relieve our anxieties. Focusing on needs outside of ourselves or even just soaking up their affection works wonders. For your own psychological health and theirs, make sure to spend quality time with your pet during the pandemic.
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