For dog owners all over the world, having to endure a lockdown or shelter-in-place in these unprecedented times could be quite daunting. Pets are among the lowest priority for authorities these days, and given the urgency of the health situation, we dog owners just need to learn to ride out this period.
Hopefully, you’re in a place where pet food and supplies shops are open, and where veterinary clinics remain in operation. But with the restrictions on movement in many places, as well as the disruptions to the supply chain, getting basic dog supplies could be a challenge these days.
Just like most dog owners, the government’s announcement of a lockdown left me wondering how I would get through at least 30 days without access to a lot of the stuff that we regularly use in our multiple-dog household. Thankfully, I always order dog food in bulk, and I tend to hoard anti-flea preventives, so I have a stash sufficient for the duration of the lockdown. However, I did not have enough disinfectants or fresh meat which are essentials in our household. To add to the difficulty, the government imposed a limitation on the number of cleaning agents and disinfectants that can be bought, while lines to enter the grocery fo fresh meat have become tortuously long.
Thankfully, 15 days into the lockdown, we have somehow managed to make do. We’ve found a place nearby where we can get fresh meat and also found several nearby neighbourhood stores selling the cleaning agents/disinfectants (which seem to no longer be counted among the controlled items these days).
For whatever it’s worth, let me share with you tips on how to care for your dogs during this lockdown (which they seem to be enjoying a lot because we’re around them 24/7).
Veterinary consultations. Wellness checks and non-urgent visits may have to be postponed these days, but you still need to get to a vet for emergencies. Unfortunately, getting to veterinary clinics may be a challenge these days, depending on how strict the rules are in your place. If you need urgent veterinary services, make sure to call your vet before going to the clinic since there’s a chance it may not even be open. If your regular vet is not holding clinic, or if the facility is not accessible, check out social media for the list of vet clinics that remain in operation. For non-urgent cases, check out the vets that are offering online consultations. These online vets can also help you determine if you have a real emergency in your hands.
Dog food. There are still some online pet food suppliers in operation, but their areas of operation may not cover your place. If you can’t find your dog’s usual food, then it may be time to try out other options. If you do, make sure to follow the guidelines on how to introduce new food types, which should not be done suddenly. This may also be a good time to try out home-cooked food.
Grooming. Since you most likely won’t find any groomers at this time, just focus on brushing your dog’s hair to prevent mats from forming. In the meantime, just do what you can like keeping the ears clean by wiping with a cloth, brushing their teeth, and giving them a bath.
Walks and exercise. Since dog walking isn’t allowed during this time, you can still give your dog exercise by throwing balls or playing games of fetch, all within the confines of your house. You can also improvise games that entail running up and down the stairs. Some people let their dogs use their treadmills, which is definitely a good way to let them get rid of their excess energy.
Toilet training. If your dog used to do his business during walks, and walks are not allowed in your place, toilet train your dog once again to do his business using a pet pad, or in your backyard.
Remember, these are unprecedented times and hopefully, the pandemic and the uncertainty it brings will end soon. In the meantime, we just need to be resourceful in providing for the needs of our furry friends — using common sense and a bit of creativity to see us through.