There is no doubt that having to adhere to ever changing public health orders and guidelines intended to help slow the spread of the virus can be difficult and at times, lonely. If you are a pet parent, then consider yourself lucky for the built-in support system you have at your disposal, a dogs love really can be hard to compete with. Despite a clear lack for considerably intellectual conversation pieces, your pets can have a direct effect on mood, health and happiness (To learn more about why you should get a dog, check out our other blog articles!). Regardless, there seems to be an indefinite "Paws" on the status of our worldly social-lives so, while we can’t do anything to influence the return to normalcy in the world, let’s air on the side of caution and assume a “glass half-full” approach.
Whether you are team cat or dog, isolating with pets can have it's challenges but, here are a few pet activities for quarantine to get you started!
1. Get outside (Especially talking to all the dog owners out there!)
If you are from Vancouver or surrounding areas, it’s probably true that you fare better in the weather department than other areas of Canada. The likelihood that you experience a snowstorm in June is slim to none so count your blessings on that front! Besides the obvious fact that dog’s NEED to be walked and exercised, breathing in fresh air, as opposed to the stale air in your apartment has profound effects on your health! Who knows, maybe you'll find yourself teaching your dog to finally play fetch the right way!
Simply put, being outside makes us happier. With rising stress, urbanization and increased screen time, being outdoors provides “the perfect antidote to all three” (Ravasio, 2019). Being outside, is scientifically tied to increased levels of vitamin D and serotonin, both which greatly help to reduce the impact of mental illness, lower blood pressure, stress levels and heart rate. The physical and mental benefits are so great that doctors are even writing “Nature prescriptions” as a means to increasing overall health. So head to your local park, socially distancing of course, and enjoy the springtime air!
Here are some of the best off-leash dog parks to visit in the Vancouver area (https://kafkasorganic.com/blogs/news/10-best-off-leash-dog-parks-in-vancouver-metro-vancouver)
2. Spend some time learning a new skill
If you are anything like me, the lockdown forced me into learning and adopting new hobbies to keep myself busy. Honestly, a little bit of mental stimulation for you and your pet definitely wouldn't hurt! Baking is often a fun and simple way to incorporate your furry friends. Not being much of a cook myself, it is quite encouraging to bake for my dog. There isn’t much he wouldn’t try, so even if it was horrible, I would never know! Trust me, I am sure I could write an entire cookbook full of recipes that NOBODY would want to eat!
For anyone else who may struggle in the kitchen, here are some easy to follow homemade treats (dog friendly of course!) https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/pets/g23026561/homemade-dog-treats/?slide=3
3. Catch up on that well-deserved R&R
You and I both know you have probably been working your tail off and the move to remote work has either been a relief or a pain in the behind, maybe even a little bit of both? Well, that drives my point home even further then! Get those cucumbers out of the fridge, pour yourself a hot bath (don’t forget the Epsom salts), get out the wine glasses and tell Siri to play the rainforest sounds playlist.
Let’s not forget about your furry roommate. To care for your pet, you'll need to bring the spa home. Speaking of which, add a grooming routine to the list of "Fun Things To Do with Your Dog In Quarantine". Your future self will thank you later when there isn't a vacuum full of hair to clean off your furniture.
Play some games!
If you haven’t seen the buttons all over the internet that allow your dog to speak somewhat fluently to you, I suggest you do some google searching. That actually might be a great way to spend some time while in isolation. Unless you have amazon prime, you may be waiting a while to get your package so until then, you’ll need to keep yourself and your company entertained.
The list of dog activities could be endless, after all, dogs are simple creatures and easily distracted by lick mats, chew toys or anything edible for that matter. So, grab that puzzle you have been just dying to finish, throw some peanut butter in that Kong and work away! Cat’s on the other hand, may be more inclined to watch you entertain yourself, occasionally swatting the odd puzzle piece off the table or better yet, found curled on the couch taking a nap!
4. Check out what’s new online!
In light of recent events happening in the world, most people, especially younger people, are more comfortable checking out their local businesses from the comfort of their own homes. According to pet spending statistics from Zulily, a whopping 77% of pet owners actually prefer it over traditional brick and mortar stores.
Pet apparel is another trending hotspot in the digital marketplace right now and would be worth checking out! Maybe you’ll find the perfect matching raincoat for those rainy Vancouver days! If you are skeptical of the odd looks you may get, you definitely won’t be the only one, as “pet apparel is the fastest growing category in pet e-commerce” with some items such as hoodies seeing an “increase of 622%” (Mitic, 2021) from 2017-2018.
5. Do some training
Whether you have an 8 week old puppy or a 7 year old feline friend, you can always spend some more time learning. Unless your pooch has a show worthy repertoire of tricks, I am sure they could stand to learn a thing or two! Max can’t shake a paw? Guess what? You have been unexpectedly handed the gift of free time, and now you have no excuse but to teach him!
Cat’s may be a harder case to crack. I can’t imagine mine having the patience to sit through repetitions of “lay down”, however, you may be shocked at what can be done with a little bit of perseverance! One cat of mine even has a better recall than my dog most days. Funny how that works hey?
At the end of the day, we are here to help you make the best of this situation! I am sure you will find SOME way to entertain yourself and your pets, even if it means talking to someone who can’t talk back!
Pet parent to pet parent, you got this!