4 Ways to Enrich Your Dog’s Life While Working From Home During COVID-19
You’re typing away on your laptop, about to join yet another Zoom meeting. Then suddenly, Fido leaps into your lap and starts huffing and puffing to go for a walk. This is the third time in two hours he’s done this and you think, ‘Why is he acting so strange? We just went out an hour ago.’
With shelter-in-place orders in much of the world, life as we know it is completely different. While it’s easy to focus only on our own personal stress, panic, and fear, our canine friends are also feeling the changes of this pandemic.
According pet experts and professionals, our pets can respond to changes with a wide variability just like humans. The truth is, our pups’ daily routine has changed just as much as ours, and it has thrown them off. For some dogs, their owners staying home all day is a dream come true. But for others, it’s thrown them into a weird state of confusion and stress, causing them to behave abnormally. So how can we, as pet parents, enrich our companions’ lives during the COVID-19 pandemic? And what can we do to help them cope with these new changes?
Thankfully, with the guidance of veterinarians, animal experts, and animal behaviorists, here are 4 ways we can enrich, improve, and enhance our dogs lives during COVID-19.
1. Stick to your regular routine and schedule
The absolute best thing you can do right now is stay as close to your daily schedule as possible. The key is to wake up at the same time; feed, walk, and play with your pup at the same time; and go to bed at the same time. This also includes leaving your pup in his or her crate if that’s typically normal for them – meaning if you leave your pup in a crate while you’re at work, don’t stop now that you’re home all day. In fact, crate time can actually be beneficial to our pets. And while this all may seem extremely rigid and hyper-organized, our canine friends thrive on guidance, structure, and routine – so they’ll be happier with this way of things.
While maintaining a regular schedule is somewhat feasible for some, we know that shelter-in-place orders have hindered others from having any job at all. These are extremely tough times, and it’s completely understandable to wake up each morning thinking, “What’s the point?” We realize this is much easier said than done, but you’ll find that keeping with your regular schedule and daily routine as much as possible can provide some normalcy for your pup in these uncertain times.
2. Don’t give too much of your attention and affection
Now that you’re having to stay home all day everyday, it seems our beloved canine friends are getting more walks, kisses, cuddles, and tons of attention. If you’d ever watched the cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures and saw how Elmyra treated any of the animals, you’ll understand just how annoying it can be for your dog to constantly be hugged, squeezed, kissed, and loved on, all day everyday.
While it may sound harsh, the truth is that some pets, while they love your affection and attention, need their own space from time to time. This is especially true if children live in the home. According to Dr. Howe, a pet expert, “Even the nicest dog in the world can bite. Over half the bites are to children… Dogs and cats really need a safe place where they feel comfortable, where they can go and not be bothered, especially if there are children in the house.” That’s not to say love and affection are detrimental. It’s just that some dogs need their distance.
On the other hand, some dogs can’t get enough attention and affection, and this can cause issues for the future. Whether you’re waiting for your job to reopen, or currently working from home awaiting the return to the office, things are going to change again for both you and your canine friend. This means, no more 24 hours a day attention and affection. This can seriously disrupt your dog’s mood and overall behavior causing them to become clingier when they see you, or worse, develop stress and bad habits associated with it. Giving your dog attention and showing them affection is always encouraged, just be sure to not overdo it for the reasons above.
3. Playing and exercising
Our dogs are filled with energy, and like us, they need an outlet to release it. During these hard times, it’s important not to get caught up in our own struggles and overlook the needs of our canine friends. Unfortunately, because dog parks are closed and social distancing orders have prohibited playdates, exercise and play times are needed now more than ever.
Set aside 20 minutes twice a day for playtime and exercise. The games you decide to play will depend on the space you have in your home. But even the well-known activities like throwing a ball and playing hide and seek for food don’t require much space. Also, interactive dogs toys and treats can keep your pup busy while you work from home.
Here are some examples of interactive dog toys and treats:
- Kong toys
- Himalayan dog chews
- Bully sticks (we love Prairie Dog Pet Product’s bully sticks!)
- Bully bones
- Antler dog chews
When you set aside time for exercise, you’re not only improving your dog’s health, you’re improving yours as well. It has been shown that fresh air and exercise does wonders for human anxiety and stress – so not only are you getting your dog out for a walk, but you’ll likely feel better afterwards too. And now that we’re approaching summer, get outside with your pup and breathe the fresh air. Remember to practice good social distancing by avoiding crowds and high trafficked areas, and always wear a mask if you pop indoors to grab a coffee or bagel on your outing.
4. Try giving your pup CBD
Social isolation, worrying over our family members, and fear over our jobs can drive us crazy. Unfortunately, our beloved dogs are picking up on our stressed emotions as well. In fact, studies show that pet owners’ stress is picked up on by their dogs. Even crying can trigger a response in our canine friends. North American Veterinary Community’s chief veterinary officer, Dr. Dana Varble said, “You might think you’re internalizing everything, but what we know from studies on humans and animals is that we are not. There’s physical manifestations that are probably even more obvious to our dogs and cats than to ourselves.”
While we can’t change what’s going on in the world, we can find ways to help relieve our stress through healthy food choices, exercise, yoga, meditation, talking with trusted individuals, and supplements or medications when appropriate. But what about relieving our pup’s stress? We know the pose is called “Downward Dog,” but they really aren’t all that good at yoga…
Thankfully, there’s something called Cannabidiol. Widely known as CBD, cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid that naturally exists in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is completely non-psychoactive (meaning it cannot get your pet “high”) and contains an array of beneficial properties. It supports a healthy inflammatory response and has a good safety profile. (Here is a good link to check out on CBD as it relates to its safety profile.) CBD is also known to promote calmness and can be a great product for dogs exhibiting nervousness, hyperactivity, discontentment, or responding to environmentally-induced stress by helping maintain a normal and relaxed disposition. During these uncertain times, incorporating pet CBD into your pets’ routine may be just what they need to help them through this tough phase.
We are dedicated to supporting your pets’ health. Our pet CBD is 100% USDA certified organic and is thoroughly 3rd-party tested to ensure safety and label accuracy. We offer health promoting CBD oil for dogs and cats, as well as irresistibly delicious CBD bites and chews.