THE PANDEMIC LIFE OF PETS
‘Until one has learned to love an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened’ – (French poet, journalist and novelist; Anatole France, 1844 – 1924)
Most veterinarians agree with Anatole. Spending time with animals is a good way to spend time. Pets can reduce stress and anxiety, help reduce blood pressure, promote heart health (…walkies!), ‘sniff out’ medical conditions (…possibly of great use during a pandemic) and provide affection and comfort. In our modern society, domesticated animals have found a home with us. More often than not, they have become a much-loved family member and pets clearly mean the world to their owners.
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent government-imposed lockdown measures have led to most people spending significantly more time in isolation at home. This unprecedented global event, while challenging for many, has provided an opportunity for pet owners to enjoy more time with their beloved four-legged friends. While staying at home, working remotely and caring for their pets, many animal-lovers have reportedly seen differences in their pets’ behaviour.
Quality quarantine time?
Could this be linked to the extraordinary times we find ourselves in or the fact that many people are, for the first time, quarantined with their pets? Animals can react differently when schedules change, for example, when they see their owners more often. While some pets are reportedly happier, they can often be distant towards their owners and act out of character while they adjust to changes in their normal routine.
Home sweet home
Seeing more of us is unusual for our pets. While many owners report their pets are spending more time alone, it is worth remembering that we have interrupted their day, not the other way around and just perhaps, they need some alone time too! Reserve a space for your furry friend in which they can enjoy some quality time alone. They may simply need a safe space in which to retreat from social interactions.
Establish a routine
Just like us, our pets benefit from having a routine. ‘Brain training’ and physical activities can be practiced in and out of the home. Be sure to keep your pet busy and entertained; they will love you for it!
Let down after lockdown
Lockdown and quarantine measures are easing up in many countries and eventually, things will inevitably return to normal. You have undoubtedly spent many precious moments with your beloved pet during lockdown. How well will you both handle being allowed back into the big wide world once your shared quarantine is lifted? Many pet owners are concerned that ‘separation anxiety’ may set in once they return to work and their pets wonder why they are alone again. However, there is no need to worry…
Remember, animals are used to a routine. Spend a few minutes away from your pet in order to prepare them for the end of lockdown when you return to your daily schedule. Go to a different part of the house then return a few minutes later. Increase the length of time you leave your pet alone and they will get used to the idea quickly.
A happy-pet mind-set…
Animals are highly-sensitive creatures. Your own happiness is a key factor in training and looking after an obedient and loving pet, especially during these challenging times. Relax and enjoy your time with one another, be playful and most importantly laugh and smile together.