It’s fair to assume that the COVID pandemic has turned many people’s lives upside down. We all had to adjust to a whole new way of living, whether it was because of health, employment issues, or coping with the quarantine blues.
It was anything but fun for many of us, but for our dogs, it was likely pure bliss.
During the height of the COVID pandemic, people flooded the internet with memes of precious pups lounging about with big doggy grins. They had their human home 24/7; what could be more perfect?
But, now, as things start to shift back to some sense of normalcy, pet parents are leaving home again. People are heading off to work, running errands, and going to socialize with their fellow human companions. What’s a dog to do?
Get Your Dog Back on a Schedule
The most important thing you can do to help your canine companion adjust to post-COVID life is to get back on a schedule. Dogs thrive on routine and predictability; they love to know what to expect. If you already had a schedule before COVID, start to reintroduce it to your pup.
It will likely take both of you some time to get back on track. If you didn’t already have a schedule, there’s no time like the present to start working on one. Ensure you have a set time for your pal to eat, take walks, play, and rest.
Provide Your Dog Lots of Opportunities for Exercise
Imagine how you felt during quarantine when you couldn’t go anywhere and you had nothing to do. You likely had so much pent-up energy you got a little stir crazy.
The same goes for your four-legged friend, so provide lots of opportunities for your pal to exercise.
Ensuring your dog has ample opportunities for exercise appropriate to their age and breed is vital to their overall happiness and health. Before you plan to leave, take your dog for a brisk walk or engage in a rousing play session. When you come home, do the same thing.
Use Engaging and Stimulating Toys with Your Dog
A bored dog is an unhappy and mischievous dog. In other words, if you don’t provide your pup with something to pass the time, they’ll do it their way. This usually results in destructive behavior, excessive barking and whining, and a generally miserable pooch.
When you’re away from home, make sure your dog has a variety of toys to help them deal with the situation.
Plush toys can provide comfort and a snuggle buddy, and chew toys can allow your pal to gnaw away on something safely. Interactive treat puzzles are a great way to engage your dog and provide mental stimulation.
Licking helps your pal calm down by releasing endorphins. Also, using a lick mat can help reduce anxiety and stress. So spread some peanut butter or your pal’s favorite soft treat onto the mat and let them go to town.
Here are some ideas for dog toys:
Help Your Dog Adjust Slowly to You Leaving Home
Instead of starting to leave home for hours on end as if nothing’s new, give your dog some time to prepare. For example, when you know you’ll be going back to a regular work schedule a few days before, start leaving the house for a few minutes at a time.
Gradually increase the amount of time you’re away, working up to an hour, then two, then three, etc. This will help your furry friend adjust to your absence for long periods. Plus, it can make it a bit easier for them to cope when you start heading off to work every day.
Consider a Doggy Daycare
If your dog is amiable, they might benefit from going to doggy daycare a couple of days a week, especially since they’ve gotten so used to having someone around all day. However, it’s good to approach this decision wisely, as doggy daycare isn’t a good fit for all pups.
See how your dog does; find a few top options in your area and try them out. If they seem to enjoy it, let them play and burn off some energy a couple of days a week.
If daycare doesn’t seem to be a good match, another option is to hire a dog sitter. The sitter can come to your home and give your pal some company while you’re gone. You can ask the sitter to stop in midday, play with your pup, walk your dog, etc.
Here are a few places you can find doggy daycare or dog walkers:
Keeping these tips in mind, you can help your faithful friend adjust to life post-COVID. Additionally, shower them with lots of love and attention when you’re together and keep your bond strong. Before you know it, your fur baby (and you) will get back into the swing of things.
Wags & Woofs!