**** NS SPCA Media Release
SOCIAL DISTANCING AND YOUR PET
Life is sure different right now and will be for the foreseeable future. Lots of activities have been postponed or even cancelled. We all know by now that social distancing is critical to reducing the spread of Covid-19. But you don’t have to let boredom set in for you and your pet while you practice self-isolation. Here are some things you and your pet can do to keep entertained while you weather the storm.
Don’t skip the walk
While we practice social distancing and self-isolation, you may be tempted to skip the walk and let your dog out in the backyard. But it’s more important now than ever to get outside for some exercise and fresh air in your neighbourhood. Both you and your dog need outdoor activity to stay happy and healthy. Explore your own community while Nova Scotia’s beaches, parks and trails are closed due to the state of emergency.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to people who are under self-quarantine, such as those who have recently travelled or who have symptoms of COVID-19.
Avoid group walks and keep a safe distance from other people, wash your hands before and after you venture out and keep your pet from interacting with others. While there is still no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19, it is best to keep your pet away from other people and pets during this time.
Stay on top
Things are changing rapidly in this environment. Always keep up-to-date with and follow the most recent public health recommendations and requirements. In Nova Scotia your trusted source of information is http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus.
If you build it, they will come
The only thing better than your pet’s favourite toy is a new favourite toy. Instead of heading to the store to buy a new one, why not make it yourself? The whole family can get involved. It can be something as simple as turning a towel into a rope toy, taking an unused sock and tying it into a catnip knot, or transforming an empty toilet paper roll into a fascinating toy for your pet. There are tons of ideas on the web for making homemade toys for your pets. More fun, less costly, oh, and better yet, made with love!
It’s what’s inside that counts
Who says adventures can’t be had inside your home? Turn small, everyday things like mealtime into a stimulating and interactive adventure. For example, you could hide your pet’s meals or their treats in one of their toys. Puzzle toys, and mazes containing food help strengthen their problem-solving abilities.
And why not try teaching your pet new tricks? This provides them with important mental stimulation while keeping you occupied as well. Challenging games and puzzles are great ways to keep your animal active and engaged. This is especially important for active dogs who might be spending a little more time at home.
If you are under quarantine, you must not go out, with or without your pet. There are community support groups – such as Caremongering-HFX – offering general assistance, including volunteers who may be able to help with pets. For dog owners under quarantine, this New York Times article has plenty of information to help you and your pet make it through.
Try to relax
Easier said than done, we know. But animals can be of great comfort during times like these. Spend time with your pet, care for them, walk them, play with them, and let’s help flatten the curve together.
Reach out if you need help
The Nova Scotia SPCA is readying to help. If you are hospitalized and don’t have anyone to care for your animal or if coronavirus means you can’t afford pet food please reach out to your local shelter to see how we can help.
Even during the state of emergency in Nova Scotia, a core group of essential staff is available at every shelter to respond to emergencies and care for ill/sick animals still in our shelter.