Coronavirus (COVID-19), you and your pet

Coronavirus (COVID-19), you and your pet

While the world is learning how best to deal with COVID-19, the Coronavirus, many countries are taking precautions in order to slowdown the rate of infection. Public events have been cancelled and organisations have their staff working from home.

Despite some stories that have been circulating, the Australian Veterinary Association has reported that they have not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19.[1]

The good news is that pets are not contagious to people or to other pets and there is no evidence that they are involved in the spread of Coronavirus, so why not take advantage of the situation and spend more with your fur friend and less time with the general public.

The world may seem like it has come to a standstill, but that’s not all bad. Take this opportunity to slow down, reflect on what’s really important and spend more time with your family, including your furry family members.

For your pet, this situation is great. Avoid the crowds and take them for a walk, yes your cat included. An extra small harness can be fitted. If introduce slowly and with positive reinforcement they can learn it’s fun to go outdoors.

At home you can think up creative ways to play with your furry companions.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Find the treat: Hide small treats around the house and let your dog or cat go on a scavenger hunt. For each treat they locate, praise them and provide positive reinforcement. Remember the treat should be a small piece and ensure the extra calories are taken into account when you feed them dinner.
  • Chase the toy: Grab your pets’ favourite toy and get them excited to chase it. Let them win by allowing them to grab it. Loosen your hold and they should let it go. Repeat the toy movement and they will get excited and chase it again.

  • Back yard fetch: You can try having two balls for this exercise, which will be great for practicing recall and “give”. Throw one ball and let your dog chase it. When they have it, call your dog. As they come close, show them the second ball and ask them to “give”. They should give up the first ball and their reward will be you throwing the second ball. Repeat.

  • Love reading books: Why not grab the one you’ve been planning to read and spend some time with your pet curled up beside you.
  • Tricks: You could even practice those tricks you been wanting to teach your pet. Remember most pets are motivated by food rewards but a squeaky may also work.

COVID-19, the Coronavirus, has led to a situation where we are all encouraged to stay away from crowds. Use this time wisely and it can strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

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