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CARING FOR YOUR PET DURING LOCKDOWN
While everyone is staying indoors during the lockdown, our pets too are having to bear the brunt of the situation. Being locked inside is not easy for anyone, especially not for our four-legged friends. I receive many complaints from pet parents about their pets losing appetite and becoming lethargic. It’s not just their physical health that is at stake, being indoors for long hours without any exercise can lead to anxiety in pets. Lack of physical activity can also affect their metabolism which leads to appetite loss and a weakened immune system. Therefore, it is very important to take extra care of your furry little friends and here’s how you can make the self-isolation period more tolerable for your pets.
Keep them physically and mentally active
It is not advisable to take your pet out for a walk during the lockdown. This inevitably affects their physical health because according to experts, being cooped inside for long might make dogs prone to depression and anxiety. While you cannot take them out for a stroll, you can look for innovative ways to keep them physically and mentally active. One such game that can keep a dog busy is ‘hide and fetch’. Keep aside an hour to spend time with your pet and indulge in such games. Also, if you have a staircase in your house, make good use of it. Climbing the stairs can be good exercise both for parents and pets.
Maintain good hygiene
This is one big problem that many pet parents are facing now. Given the fact that pets have to stay indoors, they have very limited options to relieve themselves, especially for those who live in apartments. Animal feces which contain germs and parasites like roundworms, hookworms etc., should be properly disposed of. Have litter bags handy and whenever your dog relieves himself, pick it up using the bag and dispose of hygienically. Store extra litter bags to suffice for the lockdown. In case you are taking your dog out to relieve himself, do that at such hours where you are less likely to encounter other people. Keep a safe distance and don’t let your pet loiter around.
Have an emergency kit
These are difficult times and you never know when you might run into an emergency with your pet. Just like you have a first aid kit for yourself, keep an emergency kit ready for your pet too. Besides a 30-day supply of food, make sure that your emergency kit for the pet has the following items: bandages, scissors, thermometer, cotton, a syringe without needle to administer oral medication, all the medicines for reducing fever, stopping vomiting etc. Also keep your de-worming medicines handy because you never know if the lockdown gets extended. Keep in touch with your vet over the phone regularly and whenever you see the slightest symptom of any sickness get in touch with your vet.
Desperate times require desperate measures. It’s important to keep a strict eye on your pet food stock. Since you will be with your pet almost all the time, you might be tempted to feed him extra just to keep him happy. Avoid doing so because your pet is already without sufficient physical activity and it will be wise to not run out of food before the lockdown is over.
Dr Sharad Singh Yadav is the Chairman of Advanced Pet Hospital & Research Centre which is open 24 hours throughout the year and located in Bishal Nagar, Kathmandu. He may be contacted on tel: 4422855 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org