By now, the way we live and interact will have dramatically changed. Nearly everything about our day-to-day lives has been altered in some way. Hopefully, soon things will return to normal. But for now, we are in unchartered territory.
It can scary.
But it’s important not to trade one danger for another. A stressful diet of 24-hour news and live virus-tracking maps can take nearly as much a toll on our well-being and health as a virus.
But, Chris, how about my dog? What should I be doing differently now to keep us all safe?
The first thing is to calm down.
Our dogs can sense our mood. Your anxiety becomes their anxiety. Try to maintain your routine as much as possible. The jokes and memes going around make light of the fact that our dogs love us and are enjoying all this extra time together. But that is not necessarily true. This is a change of routine. A disruption in the everyday. This is why it is important to keep routines going whenever possible. Daily walks. Dinner time. Whatever you can maintain you should. It makes all the other little disruptions less stressful.
If your dog is used to going for a walk or the dog park during the day, keep that behavior going. Dogs need not maintain social distancing from each other but obviously you should try to maintain social distancing from other owners. And those humans should stay away from your dog. Dogs cannot contract nor carry the virus. But, they can carry it on their collar or jacket or leash.
Enjoy the additional time with your dog. Snuggling and petting is not only safe but likely healthy as it helps reduce stress in you and your canine companion. So, again, if calm is key then maybe this is the best advice I can offer.
Social distancing and isolation are hard. We are all so accustomed to having other people around to talk and interact. This is a departure for all of us. It heartens me that many counties are reporting that dog fostering is up through the roof. We are all in this together.
Another aspect of not changing routines is keeping food and snacks consistent.
You may feel creative and ready to take risks with new cooking styles and recipes. I say more power to you. Just don’t bring that creativity to your dog’s dish. Dogs are apt to have sensitive digestive systems that do not tolerate change well.
Being stuck indoors with a dog passing gas is only going to make this time more difficult.
Like social distancing, this is really intended to reduce vet visits. The more we can reduce unexpected visits the better off we all are.
Stay tuned for some cleaning tips to keep you, your family, and your community safer.