Home Care Tips for Pets | Hastings Veterinary Hospital

Home Care Tips for Pets

Even though lockdown restrictions are being lifted in Canada, pet owners and their families are still required to practice safe protocols such as social distancing and self-isolation. If you own a pet and must remain in quarantine or are practicing self-isolation, you mustn’t forget to take care of your pets as well as your family and yourself! Here are some good home care tips for pets you can apply to your routine.

1. Have your vet’s contact info on hand

Post the phone number of your pet’s veterinarian on your fridge or have them on speed dial on your phone if need be. Having that kind of information on hand now is better than to struggle to look it up while there’s an emergency taking place at home.

Even if you’re self-isolating, there are ways to bring your pet to your veterinarian’s office in case an appointment is needed. Several veterinary hospitals (including ours) have set up safety protocols to avoid spreading COVID-19, and from the look of things, it’s tough to say when these protocols will be lifted even while lockdown is being released. You can view our protocols here to see what kind of precautions vets are taking right now to ensure you and your pet are kept safe.

2. Get creative with indoor games

Just because you must self-isolate does not mean your dog or cat or both still don’t need to exercise. Keeping your pets active will prevent future problems such as obesity from happening sooner than later, plus it keeps you active and going too.

Try getting creative with indoor games for you and your pets with some or all of these ideas:

  • Walk around the house together with your dog, as if you’re out on a walk. Do this as often as needed. If you have a backyard where you won’t be exposed to lots of people and you take precautions such as wearing a mask or cover-up if you’re sick, you can play with your dog outside.
  • Move around some furniture and create ramps out of books, chairs, or bulky household items, then guide your pet around and on them with a favourite toy or treats (not too many). They’ll be quite curious about this new environment and may be as eager to play as you are!
  • Try hide-and-seek with pet treats; hide them in places where your pet will have to grab, jump in and out of, or walk to get them. Empty boxes or laundry baskets are a good start for some. Be sure not to go overboard with feeding them treats though!
  • Tug-of-war is a classic, even post-COVID-19. Use any toy that is good to tug on and won’t break apart easily. Be sure to play within a wide open space and move furniture out of the way if you have to. Above all, play safe!
  • Try three cup. The objective of this game is to test your dog’s sense of smell. Get three cups and line them in a row in front of your pet. Put a treat under one of them while your dog is watching, and then give them the ok to show you which cup is the right one. When they choose right, praise them and let them have the treat. Once your pet gets the hang of it, feel free to make it more challenging by mixing the cups around after placing a treat under the correct one.

Need some more ideas? Check out our previous blog post about indoor activities for dogs. Feel free to adapt them to cats if you’re a cat owner.

3. Keep walking your pooch

Dogs still need to be walked regardless of whether or not they must stay in quarantine. Though your daily routine may have been changed by everything that is happening right now, having a schedule in place for your dog can help give your life some structure. After all, your pet needs to be cared for no matter what happens next.

Do keep walking your pooch outside, but stay safe and follow the protocols outlined in your neighbourhood, such as physical distancing and wearing a mask if you’re sick. Try to find public spaces where there aren’t a lot of people in the same area.

4. Nail trimming and grooming

Pet nails and fur never stop growing! Again, having a schedule for this sort of pet care at home can help you get back a sense of balance to your daily routine, even if it’s been radically changed.

  • Groom your pets regularly per your veterinarian’s instructions. Make sure you integrate it into part of your daily routine so you remember too. Brush your pets more often if they’re long-haired and less frequently if they’re short-haired.
  • Likewise, it’s a good idea to mark down dates when it’s best to have their nails trimmed.
  • Keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary; some symptoms of hair loss and over-scratching the ears can be red flags for problems such as ear mites or stress.

Be sure to check out some of our videos on some of our care tips for pets at home!

5. At-home dental care and exams

Although veterinary dental care is the best kind of dental care for pets, owners can still practice good hygiene while they’re in quarantine. Check on their mouths periodically by gently lifting their upper lip to get a look at their teeth, from front to back. You can ask for your vet to provide you with pet-friendly toothpaste and a toothbrush if needed at your next appointment, or pick some up from your local pet store. Follow the instructions from your vet if you need to brush their teeth yourself.

6. Diagnosed with COVID-19? Here’s what to do

Sadly some pet owners in BC have been diagnosed with COVID-19. If you’re experiencing the symptoms such as a fever or shortness of breath, here’s what you absolutely must do:

  • Leave all pets out of your bedroom, but inside of the house to prevent exposure to others.
  • Quarantine yourself in your home for 14 days upon arriving home from traveling or upon initial detection of symptoms—your pets must do the same too.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds before and after touching pet food and water, or your pet’s toys.
  • Wear a mask at all times to prevent spreading the disease to your pets and loved ones.
  • Do take your dog outside to the bathroom, but you absolutely should wear a mask before going outside, and wash your hands before and after your dog has done its business.

We’re here for all of your at-home pet care needs! Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

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