Many of us are working from home or otherwise practicing social distancing and, for those of us who are pet parents, this means our pets may be a bit confused as to why we are suddenly home more often. While we all have our own situations that require some adapting during this time period, pet owners must confront what this extra time means for them and their pet.
For some, this means that we are looking for ways that we can deepen our bond with our pet, keep them engaged and take advantage of the time we have that may have instead been spent on commuting or on other facets of our pre-work or post-work routine. In this article, instead of discussing the best dog food options for our pets, Freshpet discusses a few ways that pet parents who are social distancing or working from home can utilize some of that time for bonding.
Spending more time at home inevitably means that we have more time that we can spend with our pets. If you are currently working from home, maybe this takes the form of short, scheduled playdates during breaks or passive hang outs while you are spending time on your work. If you currently do not have work responsibilities, maybe this time takes shape as more relaxation or mutual lounge time.
However this manifests for you and your pet, an excellent way to ensure that you actually do spend that bonding time is to schedule a routine. It is also important to consider the effects this quality time can have for our mental headspace during this period. Because of the ways our pets can provide emotional support that ultimately makes us feel more comforted and secure, quality time with our furry friends is just as beneficial for us during stressful times as it is for them and can be a great asset for our selfcare rituals.
During periods of social distancing, it is important to follow guidelines for your safety. This means staying home whenever possible and maintaining an adequate distance from others. Odds are that, if you have a dog, they require exercise to stay happy and healthy and establishing the safest way to walk your dog is both important part of the social distancing process as a pet parent and a great way to continually bond with your pet. For those that have sizeable property or a dog that does not require strenuous exercise frequently, some walking can be done within the yard if your dog gets the exercise required for their optimal health.
When it comes to taking your dog off of your property for walks, make things as easy as possible by avoiding overly popular parks or locations that tend to get crowded even during periods of social distancing in favor for places where you can be more alone with your pet. With the lowered emphasis of social interactions while walking, take the opportunity to explore serene new places with your pet to bond. This is the perfect time to experiment with a new walk route if your commonly used one is frequently traveled by a lot of other people.
While we’re doing our best to stay inside, it’s a great time to get creative with playtime for our pets. Depending on how playful your dog is, for instance, this may be a good time to experiment with safe inside activities such as fetch or playing with toys. Some dogs can be taught to use equipment such as treadmills, with some dog treadmills able to be loaded with the best dog food or treats for your pet as an incentive. Other dogs, especially those that want more mental stimulation, can find enjoyment in puzzle toys or games such as hide-and-seek for treats. Inside playtime can be seamlessly combined with training as well, which can further reinforce bonding with your pet.