April 15, 2020 Pet Safety Responsible Pet Ownership

Keeping Your Pet Healthy While You Self-Quarantine

A dog looks out a window

Keeping Your Pet Healthy While You Self-Quarantine

During this trying time, most families are focused on the health of human family members and are taking precautions to avoid infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The family pet’s healthcare should not take the backseat when working from home and home schooling. Here are my tips to keep your pets healthy while you self-quarantine.

Weigh Your Pet and Practice Math Skills with Your Children

I predict one of two things will happen with your pet’s weight while you self-quarantine. Either, Fluffy will realize she can pester you until you finally give in to her requests for treats OR because you now see Fido all day, every day, his weight loss will go unnoticed. To avoid either situation, start weighing your pet once a week.

If you have children, I would enlist one of them to do the math and graph the pet’s weight over time as part of home school math. For big dogs, you and your child will need to work as a team. One person should get on the bathroom scale and the other records the weight. Then the weighed person picks up the dog while the recorder reads the weight of the pair on the scale, does the math and calculates the dog’s weight. For smaller pets, you could do a similar math problem by putting them in their carrier, weigh the two, then weigh the carrier separately and do the math. Don’t forget to label the carrier with the weight to save time next week. Check your closets and dig out that digital luggage scale you have and use it to weigh your pet in its carrier as an alternative to the bathroom scale.

Prevent Emergencies

Experts agree social distancing is important in stemming the tide of new COVID-19 cases. A trip to the animal ER that could have been prevented decreases human social distancing. Throughout the pandemic, keep your dog on a leash and your cat indoors. Free roaming pets are at risk for being hit by a car, becoming involved in fights with other animals and exposure to infectious diseases.

One of the top five reasons cats visit AMC’s ER is ingestion of foreign objects, especially string. With all the home schooling going on, there are likely to be little bits of string, sewing needles and thread accessible to the feline family members. Keep these items cleaned up and out of reach of your cat to prevent an avoidable ER visit.

Preventive Healthcare

While some preventive healthcare for pets may be delayed while you self-quarantine, don’t let the disruption in daily schedule disrupt your dog’s monthly heartworm medication and flea/tick preventative for dogs and cats. Right now, managing a parasite infestation would complicate your life even further. If your pet is receiving medications to manage a chronic issue like heart disease or kidney disease, make sure you refill those medications at least a week before you run out in case there is a delay in getting the refill. Administering medication to the family pet provides another opportunity to engage the homeschooler in making a chart and recording medication compliance.

 Getting the entire family through this pandemic safely is going to require creativity, resilience and handwashing. Because pets are a critical part of the family, we want them to stay healthy as well.

Tags: emergency room, foreign bodies, healthy cats, healthy dogs, preventive veterinary care,

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