Pets’ mental health may suffer during coronavirus lockdown

Pets mental health lockdown
Try to keep positive for your pet (Credits: Getty Images)

Some pets are absolutely loving their owners being home all the time due to lockdown.

One dog even hurt its tail because it was wagging it so much due to excitement .

A vet has warned, though, that we risk passing our stress and anxiety about coronavirus on to our pets, and potentially affecting their mental health.

Dr Chad Dodd, of St Petersburg, Florida, said: ‘Pets pick up subliminal messages and they are going to pick up on anxiety and stress. ‘Anytime when there are changes in our daily routine, it’s going to disrupt our pets.”
Dr Dodd added that owners may become distracted as they struggle with the new normal of quarantine life and could neglect their cats and dogs.

‘Pets live in the moment,’ he said.

‘With people being at home more often, pets will be bonding with their owners more. But with mom and dad trying to work from home, let’s make sure that the pet doesn’t get overlooked.’

Although it might be a good way to distract them while you’re working, Dr Dodd advises against overfeeding your pet by using puzzle feeder toys to keep them busy.

Keep Your Gum & Candy Stored Away. Many gums & candies include xylitol, a sugar substitute that’s highly toxic and can be fatal to dogs. Keep all candies and gum far out of reach of your pets at all times. Here’s a list of common household items that are known to contain xylitol.

Instead, try to think about the positives of having your pet, and try to pass these on to them.

‘Studies show that pets can lower blood pressure in their owners,’ the vet says.

‘Pets can be great comforters – they can actually improve their owners’ health and decrease their stress levels.

cat being fed
You can find unique ways to keep them occupied (Credits: Getty Images/EyeEm)

‘We definitely encourage people, if they are healthy, to cuddle their pets. The more interaction in their home environment, the better.’

In terms of how to keep your dog busy during self-isolation, Dr Dodd says that exercise is a must for both owner and pet.

He says: ‘You definitely don’t want to run down to the dog park and see 100 people but you are allowed to go outside for some exercise, fresh air and vitamin D.’

If you can’t, though, there are alternatives: ‘There are simple things you can do like going up and down the stairs with your dog.

‘People are getting creative and creating little obstacle courses around their homes. Maybe do some power walking around the house.’

He continues: ‘It’s a good time to focus on those good behavior obedience trainings that we may have started when our dog was a puppy and let slip over the years.

Make Your Own Elevated Food Bowl. You can make your own elevated pet food bowl with an $8 table from Ikea. Elevated food bowls make eating easier on dogs with arthritis and joint problems since they won’t have to bend down as much.

‘We hope this will take your mind off watching the headline news.’

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