How Has Covid-19 Affected Our Pets?
Not only have our normal routines been altered by Covid-19, our pets’ lives have been disrupted as well. More people are working from home, and online shopping has increased the amount of deliveries to front doors. Dogs’ normal schedules have been upended as owners shift walking and outdoor time to accommodate work.
More people are fostering and adopting dogs to relieve full animal shelters, while many might not be prepared to deal with a dog with an unknown history. Dog walking and people visiting dog parks has also increased.
All these changes can contribute to increased stress and anxiety in our pets.
Risk of Dog Bites
Most of the time, a dog bite occurs from a family dog biting a family member or guest. Since more people are home for longer periods of time, the chances of a dog bite are higher now.
Having more people in the home throughout the day may also mean the family dog is spending more time outside, and some are being tethered. This can lead to additional stress and anxiety for the dogs who aren’t accustomed to being outside more.
More people are enjoying outside time with their pets currently as well, which means more confrontations between dog owners and other dogs. Many dog bites happen when owners try to stop a dog fight during a walk or at the dog park.
Tips for Navigating the New Normal
- Have a routine for your pets which includes exercise, stimulation, toys and activities. Some great toys to encourage mental stimulation include puzzle toys, Kong Wobbler, and fun squeaky toys!
- Create a pet care plan in case you are incapacitated.
- Be careful when visitors come to your property. The front door is a hot spot.
- Plan kid’s play dates carefully and make sure you know your child will be safe at other’s homes during play dates.
- When the mail delivery is made, children (who are usually not home at that time), often run out to greet the carrier and block the vision of your dog if he is kept in a yard or pen so he cannot see deliveries.
- Take advantage of new technology that shows when your packages will be delivered to avoid issues with mail carriers and your dog.
Develop a Pet Care Plan
Especially now, it’s important to have a plan for your pets in case you are unable to care for them during an emergency. Make sure you write the plan down, preferably keeping a printed copy and one that can be emailed to necessary parties.
When creating your pet care plan, establish who would care for your animals in case of an emergency and whether this person (friend or family member) would keep your pets at your home to care for them or take them to the caretaker’s residence.
Make sure you have enough pet food, pet medicine, and other supplies your pet might need while you’re gone. Also, make sure the person who is trusted to care for your pets has full access to your home. Leave a way for your pets’ caretaker to transport your pets if needed, such as a crate or kennel.
If you can’t find someone to care for your pets, be sure to leave your veterinarian’s contact information, including care information for your pets, in a conspicuous place for first responders to locate.
Did You Know?
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States seeks medical attention for a dog bite. According to the CDC, more than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. 800,000 of those are serious enough to require medical attention.
Dog bites cost over $1 billion a year, with insurance companies paying out $250 million in liability claims. Dog attacks account for one-third of all homeowner liability claims.
How to Prevent a Dog Bite
- Teach children how to properly approach a dog
- Socialize your dog and use positive reinforcement
- Never leave children unsupervised with dogs
- When walking your dog, stay in your bubble and always keep your dog leashed
- Understand your dog and other dog’s body language – A dog yawning can mean he is nervous, not sleepy, so be sure to examine the context
- Do not disturb any dog who is caring for puppies, eating or sleeping
- Never reach through or over a fence to pet a dog
- Do not run past or from a dog
- Do not encourage rough play with your puppy or dog
- Always ask permission from a dog’s owner before petting a dog and let the dog sniff your hand before petting
- Never approach any unfamiliar dog. If an unfamiliar dog approaches, stand still with your arms to the side.
- Only allow people into your bubble if you feel they will greet your dog appropriately