Adjusting to quarantine life takes some time. I hate even saying the words “adjusting to quarantine life” because it implies that this is the new normal. And it isn’t. It’s temporary. It’s a break from normal life. But it is a long one, so we’ve probably all been realizing that we can’t just stubbornly keep living exactly the same way we did before, nor can we just “wait until quarantine is over” to get around to some things. That wait may be too long for some tasks and responsibilities.
So while many of us have gotten the hang of caring for ourselves now—understanding we might not be eating exactly what we want at most meals, making sure to stay on top of self-care, and being responsible when it comes to social distancing—we may have overlooked a member of the family who also needs some routines up-kept: our pets!
Your first thought about your pet when social distancing began was probably just, “Okay I need to stock up on pet food.” But now, quarantine has gone on for quite some time and may continue to. And you know that Fido or Cupcake there has some routines she relies on, besides just regular feedings. Here is pet care not to slack off on during quarantine.
Brushing your pet’s teeth
If you typically rely on bi-annual anesthesia-free teeth cleanings or yearly anesthetic cleanings at the vet or through a clinic, you may fall behind on those right now. Though vets are still open because they are an essential business, many aren’t offering non-critical procedures right now, like teeth cleaning, as a way of minimizing the rate of spread of Coronavirus. They need the fewest number of people coming into their office as possible.
DIY oral care
It is still important to take care of your pet’s teeth now to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues that are far more expensive and painful to fix than they are to simply prevent. So be sure to clean Fido’s teeth a few times a week. You can make your own pet toothpaste if your pet supplies store is closed. You can also rely on things like rawhides and Greenies that your pet can chew on to remove plaque. Just ask your vet first if these products are right for your pet.
Don’t forget to keep up with monthly flea control. Imagine fighting a flea infestation during quarantine. Some pet owners know just how terrible those are under regular circumstances. So during quarantine? What a nightmare. You would have to vacuum daily, do laundry daily, and still face bites and itching—on both you and your pet. A full blown infestation can take weeks to treat. And sometimes you need to leave your home to have a professional handle it. Where would you go then? You’re under quarantine.
Keep up with monthly prevention
You can order most of the topical treatments like Frontline or Advantix online without a prescription. If you require a prescription for an oral flea control but can’t get to your vet now, many are offering Zoom consultations. Or perhaps your vet will wave the requirement for the checkup, given the current circumstances. Just don’t fall behind on monthly flea control, no matter what you must do.
Heart worm prevention
This is another medication often given monthly to pets, but a prescription is required. Heart worm disease is incredibly painful in pets. It can be deadly. The treatment of it is lengthy, uncomfortable, and expensive. But one monthly oral treatment can greatly reduce the chances your pet ever suffers this disease. But seeing a vet isn’t so easy right now.
Stay on top of it to prevent testing
Typically, so long as your pet has been tested for heart worm in the last six months, the test came back negative, and you’ve stayed on top of the monthly preventative, your vet will give you a new prescription, without coming in for the test. But if you’ve missed dosages, your vet will require a new heart worm test before giving a new preventative prescription. And you have to see a vet in person for that. That is why it’s so important to keep up with the medication now. You don’t want to have to go into the vet’s office to get a new heart worm test right now.
When your pet has long claws, it not only harms your floors and furniture but is also uncomfortable for your fur baby. Your pet’s nails can break, split, and catch on things, which can actually lead to injuries for your fur baby. The nails can also become ingrown, which is quite hard to treat in a pet.
Give Fido a mani/pedi
If you typically rely on a groomer for this treatment, then you may be out of luck now with most groomers being closed. It may be time to learn how to safely clip your pet’s nails and order the appropriate tool to do so online. Some pet owners are more comfortable with clippers over grinders, or visa versa. Learn about the two and decide which is right for your pet.
Just because you’re slowing down on bathing doesn’t mean that your pet should. Bathing your pet regularly—and using a good pet conditioner—can prevent matting and tangling that can be painful to remove. Your home also just doesn’t need a smelly dog right now—haven’t you all suffered enough? And if things get out of hand, you may just have to shave Spot.
Get good products
Don’t use your own bath products on your pet as these will irritate his skin. Order gentle, hypoallergenic pet shampoo. Get a pet conditioner too, since this will help make brushing easier. If you can’t get pet-specific products right now, you can use baby shampoo on dogs because it is gentle enough.
Bathing can only do so much if you have a dog whose hair grows and grows like a human’s. Many hypoallergenic breeds fall under this category—they have hair rather than fur and it will grow and grow. Again, most groomers are closed now and even if you could go to one, it’s not worth the risk of contracting the Coronavirus.
Be Fido’s hairdresser
You may have to try your hand at grooming now so your pup’s hair doesn’t get so long it becomes difficult for Fido to do simple things like eat and use the restroom. Remember his hair grows around his face, paws, and rear, and can quickly interfere with simple tasks like walking or pooping. Just accept that it won’t be the most glamorous haircut your dog ever received, and give your pet a trim.
Anal gland expression
Dogs express their anal glands as a way of releasing their specific scent and marking territory in the wild. Their glands release a smell that’s unique to them, helping them send messages to other animals. But many domesticated pets don’t do so properly, and as a result, there can be infection, loose stool, and other issues.
Get the gloves
Typically groomers do it for you but you may not be seeing the groomer now and since some dogs needs their anal glands expressed a few times a year, if your pup is overdue, it may be on you to learn how to do this safely. Fortunately, because of COVID-19, you probably already have the tools required like gloves and masks.
Plan ahead when it comes to food. You may find that, for various reasons relating to the pandemic, you cannot get your pet’s usual food—and you’ll soon be running out of your stockpile. I personally usually give my dog a frozen food I can’t order right now and have had to transition her to a new, canned variety.
Transition food slowly
If you’ll soon be out of your pet’s usual food and unable to get more, select a new food that you’ll easily be able to access during quarantine. Slowly begin to integrate it into your pet’s diet now, swapping out a bit more of the old food each night for a bit more of the new food. This slow transition is important to reducing the chances your pet gets an upset stomach from the new food.