How To Keep Your Pets Happy During COVID 19 Lockdown
By Clara Lou
Covid-19 has certainly changed our lives and we do everything to stay happy and healthy while we are on lockdown.
In the same way, it’s your responsibility to make your pets adjust with their time indoors and look after their health and well-being.
Dogs and cats were wild animals before they were domesticated by humans. So, how exactly can you let them be themselves without taking out of your house?
If you have already enriched your pet’s environment, it will be easier for you to keep them active; both mentally and physically. But don’t worry. I will be sharing with you some ideas on how you can make some changes so as to provide the right environment for your pets. Before I give you some tips, it is important to know what exactly the enrichment is.
What Is Enrichment?
Basically, enrichment is the process of making the environment of your pet stimulant, peaceful so as to decrease boredom and curb subsequent problems like destructive behavior and escaping.
An agility setup in the backyard for your pooch, furniture build for your cat, puzzle toys, reward-based training; these all make a good enrichment for your beloved pets. However, during the Coronavirus outbreak, you have to go the extra mile for enrichment as going out for play or walk is risky for you. Nevertheless, your cats and dogs are safe from Coronavirus.
Enrichment Ideas For Your Pets During COVID-19 Lockdown
I have listed down all the activities and setup you can easily make available for your pets so that they don’t get bored and can enjoy their time indoors.
Litter Train Your Dog
Taking out your dog every time he wants to pee or poop is cumbersome especially, you’re living in an apartment and your area is in a containment zone. Imagine, you’re just back from work absolutely exhausted and your dog will use the litter box for eliminating. Quite relieving, right?
While being quarantined during this time, grab an opportunity to teach your dog how to use a litter box like a cat. You might also use a clicker to teach them. Teach them to get into the box, let them feel it is ok to defecate and urinate in the box by putting some of their excretions in the box initially.
When they show signs like whining, barking for eliminating, immediately tell them to use the litter box (the command you have taught them to get inside the box). This will do and once your dog gets used to the box, you won’t have to worry about getting them outside every time they feel the urge.
Don’t worry if your dog is not litter trained yet. Govt. has allowed to go out for exercising once a day for one hour while maintaining social distance. Check with your state’s rules for more clarity.
You might’ve been getting many deliveries these days. If so, you can use all the boxes for your dogs and cats to provide some mental stimulation. Use small boxes or cut out big boxes to make smaller ones, and hide treats in some of them. Arrange them in another room and let your dog go inside and let his nose work. The same activity can be done for cats.
Take a cupcake baking tray and as many tennis balls as the cups present in the tray. Now put a treat in the cups randomly, fill half of them. Then cover all the boxes with tennis balls and show it to your pooch. Let your dog decide which ball to remove first. If there’s a treat inside, he will get that treat as a reward. You can keep your dog indulged in this activity every day.
If you’re living in an apartment, this is very unlikely to work for you. But if you have even a small backyard, you can build a simple DIY agility setup. Your dog will get enough exercise without going to the park and play. Some dog breeds like German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois are high-energetic dogs and they might get destructive if fail to get enough exercise.
Puzzle Feeding Toys
Give your pet kong-type toys when they are free and seem bored or depressed. A kong toy will keep them busy and give them good mental stimulation. You can also make puzzle toys more challenging by using them in a box puzzle as mentioned in the earlier section.
Our feline buddies are indoor creatures and it will be easier to keep them happy than dogs. If you’re a new cat parent and don’t know much about ‘catifying’ (enrichment for cats) your house, you should make some changes. First, add a window porch so that your cat can enjoy watching outside. And if possible, transform that porch in a hanging bed, so that your cat can also enjoy their naps by windows.
Apart from this, cat trees, cat condos, caves, scratch posts provide good enrichment. You can purchase this stuff online or from the stores but if you have a DIY soul, you can make cat furniture by yourself!
Teach Them Tricks
Both cats and dogs respond well to reward-based training or positive reinforcement training. This quarantine and lockdown period allows you to strengthen your bond with your pets and provide more than ever time to be with them.
You can grab this opportunity to teach them various tricks. That will not only be entertaining and pride moments for you but also your pets will have engagement and physical activity. Teaching your dogs walking off-leash or teaching your cat to use a skateboard; you can encourage those tough behaviors you always wanted to see in them.
Keeping your pets happy during the Covid-19 lockdown while you’re working from home has made our life different and difficult. Keeping furry buddies engaged and healthy when they have to be indoors strictly is only possible when you provide enrichment to them. I hope the points I’ve mentioned are helpful to you and keep your beloved ones happy. And also, if you’re active on social media, don’t miss to participate in trending challenges like “toilet paper challenge”. Those trends connect all the pet parents across the globe and it feels good to be a part of it.
Clara is a co-founder and the marketing head at Petlovesbest.com. She happens to be an active animal activist in her town who has done a few notable works for the welfare of animals, especially pets. She loves to enjoy writing about pets and animals.
*Photos by unsplash.com