Among the drastic changes in normalcy in the current coronavirus pandemic, is the way we do regular errands and activities. Grocery shopping for a household used to be simple, now it’s become a major ordeal, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find everything you need. There are delays in shipping and major shortages with so many items. The plus side is that online shopping is also on the rise right now, so you’re able to order the staples you can’t find in stores. Whether you’re looking for spices or coconut oil or dog treats, the internet is a great tool. An important side note though: thank you to all of the essential workers who make it possible to get goods and groceries!
In your grocery shopping needs, you’ll also still be shopping for your pet. How you do this shouldn’t be too affected by coronavirus unless you run in to a health problem with them.
Research the dietary needs of your pup.
There is no “one size fits all” protocol with diets for your pup, just as there isn’t one for humans. Whether you feed your pup limited ingredient high quality kibble or you home-cook their meals, dogs have different and unique needs. If you’ve had your pup on kibble and are interested in transitioning to a home-cooked diet, research ratios and come up with a plan. If this is the route you’d like to take, just know that cooking your pup’s food is a big commitment from you, their pawrent. It takes time to cook and portion out food. And remember that when you transition their food, do it gradually!
Whatever choice you make in feeding, the ultimate goal is to always have healthy dogs!
Communicate with your pup’s veterinarian or care team.
This is as simple as sending an email or leaving a message with your vet’s office. Unfortunately the majority of vets are doing curbside pickup for your pets, never seeing the owners due to social distance guidelines. This makes things a bit more challenging because it’s always easier to communicate face to face with a vet about the why’s with your pet’s health.
Even though we all think we know everything thanks to Wikipedia and Google, we need to make sure we’ve run our concerns and questions by the vet so we can ensure our pets get the best care possible.
It’s going to take some trial and error.
You can do all the research and talk to your vet and construct a good plan, but sometimes you have to switch things up. Just as you shouldn’t stay stagnant in your own life, you have to be willing to make changes if they seem necessary for your pup.
For example you won’t know if you’re dealing with pet food allergies until you try giving your pup specific foods. Some common food allergies are poultry and beef, but you won’t know how they affect your pup until they eat it.
This is a personal subject for me as I’m 2 weeks in to learning my 14 year old rescue Daisy is in kidney failure. The vet said she has 6 months to a year if she does well, but the sad part is that she’s not doing very well. Her younger rescue sister had digestion problems for a while, so I’ve been cooking her meals and she’s doing a bit better now. Daisy seemed fine on the same food as her sister but after this diagnosis, her diet needed an overhaul as well, with specific macronutrient ratios. I took beef out of their diet and cook with coconut oil, and for Daisy I’m more liberal with treats. She is very underweight and the vet said with time, she’ll keep losing weight and lose her appetite. So my goal now is to keep weight on her, and if she wants it and it’s in the macronutrient parameters, she’ll get it. Food prepping for them is an all-day affair, but I feel good about knowing I’m doing the best I can for my girls.
Quarantine and Pets
Since there is no proof there’s possibility of infection with coronavirus and dogs, try to keep them at a semi-normal and active routine! Complete with all the love and snuggles. We have to navigate through this new world of quarantine with our pets and ourselves. If for some reason, you notice changes in your pup’s behavior (lethargy, lack of appetite, etc.), keep an eye on it but definitely don’t ignore it. Pets are very intuitive and in sync with their surroundings and environment, and can be a reflection of their owners. If you’re stressed, (as most of us are right now), they can sense that, and the same with depression. Although no one can truly know if dogs experience depression like humans do, they can still experience it.
If your pet is exhibiting any strange behavior, before you rush to get an appointment with your vet, really assess the situation. Has there been an major emotional change in your household? Do you or your family members handle this coronavirus stress well or are you all over the place? Sometimes it’s as simple as focusing on their routine that has maybe been lacking, and sometimes it’s more. Just make sure you have everything you need, and some excess just in case, to keep your pup happy. And most importantly, be intuitive and always proactive with your pet and their health.
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