Pandemic Pets: What You Need to Know

As quarantine drags on, many have gotten pets to cope with staying at home all the time. Pets have been proven to bring benefits, such as increased levels of dopamine, and during quarantine, they can help people maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives. Taking care of a pet requires a lot of time and attention, but due to quarantine, people have nothing but time, and more time. This has allowed those that used to be too busy to take care of a pet to now be able to get one and spend time with them. While getting a pet is great, there are a few issues that may arise for some.

One of the biggest issues that may prevent someone from adopting a pet is that it takes a lot of time and money to take care of one. Although many have more time to spend with their pets due to quarantine, once quarantine ends, they will still need to be able to take care of their pets and give them the attention they need. If someone’s normal life is extremely busy, this could lead to pets being abandoned once quarantine ends. Due to this concern, a few dog charities and welfare organizations have picked up the message, “A dog is for life, not just for lockdown.” As many people have lost their employment during the pandemic, there is also a concern of pets being returned to shelters by families that can no longer afford to take care of them. Owners that fall sick to COVID-19 may also end up returning or abandoning their pets. Some shelters worry that they may see an influx of animals being returned or abandoned as the changing circumstances of the pandemic put new pressures on pet owners.

Another issue with adopting a pet during quarantine is that owners will have to help their pets adjust to post COVID-19 life. According to Dr. John Howe, the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), dogs and cats are creatures of routine, and for those adopted during the last few months, your routine during quarantine may be the only routine they’ve ever known. The AVMA recommends a few steps to follow to get your pets ready for the new routine of post-COVID-19 life. These steps include starting to introduce a normal workday routine to your pets, spending some time every day apart from your pets, and talking to your veterinarian if there are concerns regarding your pet’s health or stress.

Overall, there has been a huge increase in pet adoptions as well as pets being placed into foster homes. Many shelters have been able to find new homes for their animals, and many people have been able to get a new furry companion. To learn more about the situation with shelters throughout the U.S., click here. To learn more about how to help your pet prepare for post-COVID-19 life, click here, and for dog owners specifically, click here.

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