The pandemic has taught us many things – about what really matters, what our true priorities are and what do we live for. For many, it’s family. In these testing times, we believe family is more important than ever. If you have a cherished pet, you would know how important it is for your pet to be safe, happy, and healthy during these times. But pet care during MCO & the pandemic can be challenging.
Routines are now changed, no more visits to the park, no more trips to the beach. It is especially hard if you have to take care of both pets and children! So, if you need some tips on how to care for your pet during MCO, these might give you some ideas.
1. Stay Alert (But Don't Panic) on Health & Nutrition
Social distancing applies to both humans and animals. While many scientists believe the coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted to pets, it’s still very wise to keep your pets away from crowded areas. Yes, including the dog park. This virus is new and we’re getting new information about it every week. So stay safe and stay alert, but never panicking.
- Stock up on kibbles and pet treats before any panic buying happens again
- Never force your animals to wear face mask! They just need to stay at home
- If you’re sick, minimise contact with your pet until you feel better
- If they’re sick, quickly call the vet clinic and set up an appointment, while always following SOP
- For outdoor cats, try to keep them indoors as much as you can. Use a cat leash if she insists on going outside, and limit her to only the backyard or apartment area.
2. Stick to a Daily Routine
Indoor cats and other small pets like rabbits and hamsters are probably the easiest when it comes to social distancing and petcare during MCO (like my lazy indoor cat). Outdoor cats however, might not be too comfortable staying inside for too long and need to be outside. You can use the cat leash or if that fails, be consistent on a routine where your cat should go out only at certain times of the day.
For dogs, it is EXTREMELY important for you to stick to a routine. No matter its size and breed, all dogs need consistent schedule to avoid stress and anxiety which then leads to misbehaving. Have a timetable for when your dog should go outside to poop or pee, when it’s play time, time for walks, and time to feed. By being disciplined in your schedule, your dog can anticipate his day and reduces uncertainty and mixed messaging.
3. Make Time for Play & Exercise
In your pet’s schedule, allocate plenty of time for play. Both cats and dogs need exercise routines to keep them occupied and tired so they can go to sleep easily. Yes, they’re just like children! Speaking of children, get your kids involved as well. The pet is the responsibility of the whole family, not just one member. Other than playing, tell your kids to read books aloud to them or do activities together.
In some cases such as EMCO/PKPD, the law doesn’t allow you to go outside at all. If you can’t bring your dog outside for walks, try to use the space in your home to do some exercise. If you have a backyard, that’s great enough for some running around. If you don’t, allocate a space in your home to play catch, zoomies and general fooling around. Buy some pet toys online designed to keep pets focused. A good chew toy for example, can save you from a bored, misbehaving dog.
4. Give Them Positivity & Encouragement
Petcare during MCO can be very mentally-straining. So don’t sweat out the small stuff like a messy room or noisy barking dogs (poor things are just very bored) and focus on the bigger picture; getting the family to stay positive and work together. Some days will be tougher than others, but having a pet can sometimes be rewarding. They provide comfort and love if you treat them right. I would pick up my cat at the end of a long day and hide my face in her fur for as long as I need.
Always give you pet praises and encouragement whenever they do something good and behave. NEVER punish them for bad behaviours. Instead, be very disciplined about your rules and routine. If a pet misbehave, use a stern voice and give it some time-out. Positive reinforcement is shown to be more effective than negative punishments, so give them all the praises and treats for good behaviour, even if it means staying quiet throughout your video conference.
5. Spare Some Kibbles for Other Animals In Need
MCO is a tough time for everyone. It is especially tough for stray animals and those in animal shelters. Animal food banks are running dangerously low in funds due to the pandemic and many abandoned animals, both in the streets and in shelters are starving. MCO closes down many businesses and restaurants, which means strays who had depended on scraps and leftovers have lost their main food source.
These animals need your compassion and kindness more than ever. Spare some kibbles for them and donate what you can to the nearest shelter or animal organisation. Donate a little to save a life and give abandoned cats and dogs a chance to survive in these uncertain times.
Your pet is very grateful to have a thoughtful, kind fur parent such as you. Hopefully these petcare during MCO tips can help you and the cherished furry friend go through a difficult time. No matter how hard it might be, do not mistreat or abandon your pet. Sadly, there were a lot of cases of pet-dumping during the first MCO lockdown. There are too many strays and abandoned animal in the streets caused by irresponsible owners. Pet-dumping is animal cruelty and we shall not stand by it.
Instead, be compassionate owners and keep your pets safe and happy. In return, they can provide you with a fulfilling and rewarding family life that can survive anything against all odds.