What Can I Do to Help My Dog During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Enjoy quality time with your dog! When we are so busy with our ‘normal’ daily lives, our pets don’t get as much of us as they would like. Every cloud has a silver lining! This is a great opportunity to spend quality time with our pets. Talking to and petting your dog will help you feel better. Many studies have shown that comfort contact with pets lowers our blood pressure, heart rate and feelings of anxiety and stress. And it does the same for your dog, too.

Walk your dog! We still have the option of going outdoors as long as we maintain social distance. Your dog needs the exercise and fresh air every day, and so do you. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your dog. A minimum of 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a day will keep you both from getting cabin fever! Wash your hands well as soon as you take off the leash. Sing a song that lasts about 20 seconds (like the Alphabet Song) so you know you’ve done a thorough job.

Play with your dog! Play is a stress relieving activity for all of us, including our pets. Dogs have individual play styles even within the same breed, so if you don’t know what appeals to your playful pup now’s the time to find out! Invite your dog to play with a variety of toys. Some like to retrieve and others don’t. Some dogs love balls and some prefer flying frisbees. Some ignore other dogs and are obsessed with a favorite a toy while others need interactive social play with other dogs and people. Order a new toy from the list of our top picks in our toy chest. Celebrate life every day with your best friend!

Make meal time fun! Instead of feeding your dog every day from the same boring bowl, try a slow feeder or puzzle toy. Feed your dog twice daily (more often under the age of 6 months) and remove any uneaten portion to help maintain a healthy weight (or help them to lose some extra layers). Roll a feeding ball for them to chase up and down the hallway or even up and down the stairs. Food is fun!

Keep your spirits up by focusing on the ones you love. Make this a positive time to find comfort and joy.

This is the gift of being a pet parent. Be well.