COVID-19 is helping shelters animals throughout the United States get adopted due to people seeking a companion during this time. Since the beginning of quarantine, the rate of pet adoption and fostering has increased significantly.
If you are a first time pet owner, here are some tips for getting your new pet settled into your home and giving them proper care.
1. Prepare your home
Before bringing your new beloved pet home, make sure your house is pet-proof. By making your house pet-proof you will ensure you pet is safe, along with your household items. Make sure all hanging cords, especially those attached to blinds and those plugged into outlets are out of reach. Put away knickknacks or other breakable items until you know your pet’s behavioral tendencies, as cats love to play the knock things off of shelves game. Lastly, do research on the plants you have in and around your home. Lots of plants are toxic to your companions if they chew on them such as aloe vera, lilies, and ivy.
2. Research pet foods
There are hundreds of pet foods on the market and every pet owner wants to feed their companions the best. Make sure your pet is getting a complete diet by doing research on different pet foods and consider talking with your veterinarian. There are also many pet food fads on the market including grain free and meat only diets. Meat sources are reported as allergens more frequently than grains in our cats and dogs. All meat or raw meat diets have become increasingly popular in dog diets, but since dogs are omnivores this does not provide them a complete diet.
3. Veterinary needs
Many veterinary hospitals are also implementing social distancing by getting your pets from your vehicle and taking care of them alone. To ensure your pet makes it inside the vet hospital safely, place your cat in a secured carrier and have a sturdy lease on your dog.
4. Keeping your pet entertained
Being home more often with your new pet is a great way to get to know and bond with them. During this time, you should still make sure your pet is kept entertained and is well exercised. When your pet is bored or has a surplus of energy, it may lead to undesirable behaviors. Taking your dog on frequent walks, of course staying at least 6 feet away from others, or playing interactive games such as fetch will keep them active and assist with the bonding process. For your cats, provide them with a wide array of options until you know which activities or toys they enjoy best. Cats like to jump into boxes, play with plastic bags, chase laser lights, and climb cat trees.
5. Grooming needs
Scheduling a grooming appointment for your pets can be difficult during this time, so here are some solutions to help manage your pets. Cats will groom themselves throughout the day but brushing your cat daily can also help strengthen the bond between you and your cat. As your cat’s nails become longer, trimming them yourself is a valuable option that you can learn from online tutorials or contacting your veterinarian. Another way to dull your cat’s nails is by providing them with scratching posts, which would also prevent them from clawing your furniture. Your dog should be brushed regularly and be given a bath every three months and sometimes more frequently depending on the breed. The same advice applies for cutting your dogs nails. If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails, taking them on walks on hard surfaces can keep their nails to a manageable length.
6. Preventing future separation anxiety
Being home with your pet more than normal can possibly lead to future separation anxiety, but here are some ideas to help reduce the likelihood of this occurring. Everyday make sure there is a time where your pet is alone. During this time, the pet should not be able to hear or see you, so taking a stroll outside is recommended. Before leaving your pet, set up a cozy spot for them to nap and turn on the radio or TV. This will provide auditory and visual stimulation that may distract your pet or sooth them compared to a quiet house.