Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, we’re all now living very different lives and are having to adapt to significant changes to our everyday routines.
It’s hard enough for adults to manage change, but imagine how tough it must be for your dog. They have no idea what’s going on and no way to communicate with you about the changes their life is undergoing.
Here at the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, we understand how close the bond is between dogs and their owners. That’s why we’ve put together a list of practical tips that’ll help you to keep them calm during this stressful situation and improve both of your lives.
Give Them More Affection
Much like you, your dog is probably feeling stressed and anxious during this crisis. An easy way to help them through this challenging situation is to give them more cuddles and fuss. Spend time with them and hold them close to you so that they feel safe and comforted.
Not only will this make your dog feel better, but it’ll also help you to overcome your anxiety. Dogs are great for relieving stress and bringing comfort and joy, which is why we use them to provide animal therapy to individuals in a range of healthcare facilities.
Try To Keep Your Anxiety Under Control
Dogs can pick up on your anxiety, meaning that the more stressed out you are, the more stressed out your dog will be.
As such, you must try to keep your anxiety under control. After all, if you’re too stressed to get out of bed, then you won’t be able to care for your precious pup properly.
As our therapy visits prove, dogs are a great source of comfort, so spending time cuddling your dog and talking to them can be a great way to boost your mood. You should also try to get enough sleep, eat healthily, and connect with your loved ones via phone or video call so that you can give your dog the care they need and reduce their stress.
Spend Time With Them
With the shelter in place order in force, the chances are that you’re spending more time at home than usual.
Your dog will be happy to see you, so make sure that you include them in everything you do. If you’re working from home, then set up a little space for them next to your desk, so that they can join in. Everyone loves to see a dog in their virtual meeting, and they’ll probably make a better co-worker than most humans!
When doing basic tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, or simply watching TV, keep your pup close and make them feel involved. For example, snuggle up with them while you’re binge-watching your favorite show, or give them little treats while you’re cooking.
By spending more time with your pup and not shutting them out of anything, you’ll show them that this new situation is positive, and make them feel loved.
Keep Their Routine As Normal As Possible
With the lockdown in place, your daily routine will have changed, which can be disconcerting. Much like us, dogs feel comforted by routine, so you must create a new schedule for you both as soon as possible.
Where you can, keep their routine the same as it’s always been. Feed your dog at the same time, and take them for a walk at the usual time.
If your dog is a certified therapy dog, then continue to take them to their visits if you feel safe. At the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, we’re not suspending visits, but we are advising that you follow CDC guidelines and the facility’s safety procedures.
Continuing to take your dog to facilities as a therapy dog will make them feel a sense of purpose and give them the chance to bring joy to others during this stressful situation. Our members and their dogs help everyone from prisoners to hospital patients to feel comforted, so you and your pup will feel a sense of purpose and happiness when you go on your visits.
Take Them To A Vet If You’re Concerned
If your pup is not eating, is sleeping more often or is behaving in a very unusual way, then you should take them to the vet.
Vet clinics are classed as essential businesses, meaning that they will still be open. Communicate with them by phone or email first, to find out about their availability.
Once you’ve booked an appointment, take every precaution to ensure that you, your pet, and everyone you come into contact with, is safe. Give your vet all the information you have and explore all the options available to try and alleviate their anxiety and get your dog back to their happy, playful self.
If you want to find out more about our valuable work training certified therapy dogs, and how you can help, then call us on 307-432-0272 or contact us.