As we navigate this difficult time, there are many questions about how you can best help others. The most important thing you can do during this time is to stay safe and healthy. However, there are many pet-focused organizations that need and would appreciate your support. We urge you to reach out to local animal welfare organizations to see how they could use your support.
Being a foster pet parent is a great way to help other pets in need. You could also donate pet food and other pet supplies to local shelters and animal rescue centers.
Chances are good that your pet will be happy to have so much time at home with you. To keep your pet from getting bored, especially if you are working from home for most of the day, give your pet a food puzzle toy to work on. For cats, hide little treats around the house so they can spend their time hunting for food.
During your free time, take your dog out for walks or runs or play fetch with them in your yard. For your cat, flash a laser light across the floor. You could also attach a small piece of feather to a stick and let your cat try to catch the feather.
Overall, while under quarantine, spend regular quality time with your pet throughout the day. Keep them busy while you’re working and give them lots of love when you’re not working.
To ensure that your pet is well taken care of, there are a few ways to prepare in case you get sick with COVID-19:
Since this is an evolving pandemic and further research is needed on the transmission of COVID-19, use discretion when considering fostering. However, some animal welfare organizations suggest that now is a great time to adopt or foster a pet. Fostering pets relieves the pressure from animal shelters and gives pets a safe place to stay if their owners are seriously ill or hospitalized with COVID-19.
If interested, consider contacting your local animal shelters and animal rescue centers to inquire about their need for foster pet parents and what their policies are for fostering pets during this time.
Social distancing can end up feeling isolating because you are not able to interact with people as you normally would, and your usual outlets for entertainment and socializing (e.g., restaurants, malls) are likely closed. Having a pet during social distancing/quarantine can be good for your physical and mental health. For example, taking your dog out for a walk allows you to get some fresh air and exercise. Giving your pet a nice back or belly rub can help lower your anxiety and stress levels.
Our pets are very perceptive to our body language and emotions. If your pet senses that you are anxious or sad, don’t be surprised if they want to cuddle with you to lift your spirits.