While it feels like the quarantine deadline has been extended 25 times, and we may never be done with stay-at-home orders, we will indeed go back to work someday. And although you may be excited to get out of the house, it will be a drastic change for your pet. We have pretty much been with them 24/7 for weeks now, and you suddenly being gone for hours can cause significant stress and depression. This is especially true for those pets adopted during the quarantine, who have never known you to be away!Recognizing the signs of stress can vary greatly from pet to pet, but generally speaking, shows up as a change in behavior.Dogs may drool, shake, shiver, pant, or chew/scratch/dig excessively, while cats might show their discontent by refusing to use the litter box. Both may exhibit a change in appetite, over-groom themselves, be lethargic, have diarrhea, or be aggressive, nervous, or depressed. Any change in the household is a potential trigger for stress for your pet.We need to take small steps now to prepare our pets for when we return to work, and minimize any separation anxiety. You will want to have a comfortable place for your pet while you are gone during the day. If your dog isalready crate-trained, then that may be a good option (but if they are not familiar, now is not a good timeto introduce another new environment). Otherwise, prepare a room or sectioned off area of the house forthem (baby gates can be helpful), and provide them with things to keep them comfortable. Their bed or a blanket that will smell like you are great, as well as enrichment toys to keep them busy. A few greatoptions are Kongs stuffed with treats and peanut butter or cream cheese, puzzle “feeders” or treatholders, or treats frozen in water or broth.The goal is to distract the pet for those first moments when you are away, and to keep their mind and body working. Always use the same “space” as part of this routine.If your home is usually noisy with the TV on, kids, or music, then consider leaving a radio on for your pet.If your home is normally pretty quiet, then leaving the TV or music on may actually cause more anxiety for them.Most importantly, you want to get into a routine NOW. If you have been sleeping in, or not having much of a schedule, it is time to start. Shift your dog’s morning walk or cat’s breakfast a bit each day until it matches up with your normal work schedule. They should be used to waking up, eating, and going out at the correct times before you go back to work.If you will be using a dog-walker or having someone else visit the home while you are gone, have them start providing service now. Your pet should be familiar and comfortable with them before you are away. Doing “practice runs” is also a great idea, especially for those pets adopted DURING quarantine. Animals will look to us for clues about what is going to happen, so the act of putting your shoes on or picking up your keys can cause them to think they are going for a walk or car ride, rather than you leaving for work. Move your keys around during the day, even when you’re not leaving the house. Practice leaving the house. If your dog begins barking or whining, DO NOT re-enter. Wait until he/she is quiet, then come back inside. You do not want to reward the barking with your presence, praise or any treat. Consider doing little half-days away right now. Place the pet in their area with a stuffed kong or frozen treat to keep them busy, leave at the time you would for work, but go do a grocery run, or even get coffee and read in your car for an hour.Misbehavior while you are away is NOT a sign of obedience, but rather anxiety. Further obedience training may just place further stress on your pet. Punishment is also a terrible idea, as that usually makes the anxiety worse. You want your pet to be happy and comfortable while you are away, so introducing a crate, a new dog-walker, and unusual music all at once is going to be too much for your pet. Despite a pet-owner’s best efforts, some animals may have overwhelming anxiety no matter what tips and tricks you use. You can always talk to your vet about natural calming treats, medication, or even testing for underlying issues.Remember that a tired pet is usually a good pet, so keep up the exercise and play, even when you are gone or working long hours (hey, we know some great dog-walkers!). Even cats need to be active and engaged. I find that nothing clears my head and cheers me up after a long day at work like a good walk outside or playing with a pet, so it’s great for both of you! If you start preparing a safe space and regulars chedule now, along with practicing time away from home, you are setting your pet up for success.For more information on dogs and separation anxiety visit:https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/separation-anxiety
https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/separation-anxiety-in-dogsSources: The Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, VCA Hospitals, Complete Canine Care, ABC News, Best FriendsSociety, CNN Health
As we start off the month of May, with the weather warming up and the sun shining (finally!), EVERYONE wants to head outside. The dog needs to go for walks and so do you! But how do we maintain social distancing rules when there are so many other people and animals out as well? Even with increasing amounts of coronavirus, there are a few tips you can take to minimize your risks while out getting some fresh air, exercise, and vitamin D.
First, the WHERE and the WHEN. You want to avoid peak times and places. Take a remote trail in the woods rather than heading to the apartment’s dog run. Skip the parks and beaches, and walk the streets near your home. Try to go earlier in the morning before families are out, or later in the evening to avoid the after-dinner walkers. By heading outside when everyone else is inside, and going to the areas where there are less people, you are less likely to be exposed to coronavirus.
Secondly, etiquette. It is now socially acceptable to cross the street when someone else is coming, hurray! We dog-walkers have been doing this all along to avoid unknown canine situations, but now everyone is joining in. It is pretty impossible to maintain six feet of distance with both parties staying on the sidewalk, so the easiest thing to do is just to cross the street. If this is not possible, step onto the grass and away. You can smile and wave, or even give a thumbs up to the other person, but you want to maintain a minimum of six feet if at all possible. Do not let your dog approach other people or other animals. And your dog should ALWAYS be on a leash. This ensures that you can keep them away from other people and minimizes the risk of interaction. It is the safest for you and your pet. You should only be walking with your pet, or another member of your household. Meeting up with groups or running partners can increase your risk of exposure.
And lastly, the contact precautions and disinfection procedures. We have all seen the people walking outside with full-face gas masks and rubber gloves on. While each person is entitled to their own protection choices, this is usually unnecessary. Many local regulations and ordinances now require face coverings while in an indoor enclosed area, but not outside. Cloth masks can still be helpful while walking the dog or going outside. You can always wear it pulled down, then put it over your face and nose when you see someone else coming or are going into a populated area. Bring your own waste bags to avoid touching local bag dispensers. Carry your own water and dish so you do not have to use drinking fountains or community dog bowls (safer for your dog and yourself!). When dispensing dog poo or any other waste, try to use free-toss trash bins, meaning that you will not have to touch any part of a lid. If you must use trash with a lift lid or push flap, touch the container using a poo bag or glove, then dispose. Then immediately use hand sanitizer, before touching anything else. Avoid touching anything else along the walk, like fences, gates, etc. You can disinfect things like leashes, bag dispensers, and your phone regularly with cleaning wipes. Never use cleaning products or wipes like bleach or Lysol on your pet! Always wash your hands with warm soap and water upon returning home, even if you did not touch anything or come into contact with anyone.
Most likely, your pet is LOVING having you home more often during these times. Having a furry family member around can reduce your stress and anxiety, and heading outside is good for both of you! With these tips in mind, you can easily enjoy walks in the sun while maintaining safe social distancing practices.
For more information about coronavirus prevention, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/index.html
Sources: VCA Hospitals, Harvard Health Publishing/Harvard Medical School, PetSecure, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pet Partners, The Washington Post, HuffPost
If you’ve been a part of our Pet-Agree family for a while, you might remember our community dog walks. How can you forget dozens of adorable dog faces roaming the streets downtown?!We are excited to throw our Howl-a-ween Community Dog Walk Bash 2019!! What is this? Pet-Agree and One Trick Pony pair up to throw a howling good time while taking a walk through our beautiful city! Humans and dogs are encouraged to wear their best Halloween costumes!Join us on October 30th @ 6 P.M. @ One Trick Pony, 136 E. Fulton for a fun dog walk AND costume contest! We will have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes for the best costume. Our judges will walk around throughout the event to see who qualifies.There are a few things we must make sure everyone is aware of because safety is our first concern. Please leave retractable leashes at home. All dogs must be up-to-date on their vaccines and rabies. And please bring waste bags. No is left behind!The walk takes half an hour round trip with a fun stop at Rosa Parks Circle!! Even if you arrive late, join us mid-walk! We love picking up hitch-hikers along the route! LOL!Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue will be joining us and there will be a donation box on-site! Please say hi!We look forward to seeing everyone there! Dogs are mandatory - just kidding - but they are highly encouraged! Costumes are a definite must. Be as creative as you want! The wilder, louder, brighter, the better!!!!!
As many of you know, my last day working for Pet-Agree was last Friday. It was soul crushing. There are so many wonderful things about dog walking and pet sitting. I love this job more than anything I’ve ever done - and I’ve had some pretty cool jobs. Nothing beats the love of an animal (especially a dog).My favorite thing to do was to take a dog on an adventure. Maybe it was me taking Austin or Karson to their favorite park, Shaggy Pines. Maybe it was taking Lambeau to Roselle Park so he could swim in the river. Or maybe it was taking Oliver to every trail imaginable and getting lost, laughing because I fell down a hill or stopping for treats so I can get that perfect picture to send his parents.The most rewarding part of this job was winning over my favorite 6-pack. I’m sure you remember all the pictures of Gus, Goose, Lucy, Fitzy, Stella &Emmy. This isn’t a pack you send an inexperienced person to go do. You had to be knowledgeable of medical conditions and be aware of any reaction the dogs may have to each other or another human. You had to win Gussie over with lots of treats. He had a very rough beginning to life and thankfully his Mom has given him a wonderful home to spend the rest of his years. But that abuse still haunts sweet Gussie and he is not friendly to strangers. In the beginning, I was a stranger. Today, I am family.This job made me happy. Sometimes any job can be stressful - hello holidays and busy busy days - but it was never too stressful. I never hated it and I never wanted to leave. So it clearly makes sense that I’ve applied to be a pet sitter with a company in Cincinnati!! I am going to continue caring for people’s fur babies and hopefully I get to take these new love bugs on their own adventures!!!If you have a love for pets that is beyond the average pet owner’s love, if you like taking long hikes and having sleepovers, and if you don’t mind being in the elements now and then...Pet-Agree might be a perfect fit for you! Send your resume over and keep your fingers crossed you get an interview. Because if you get into this profession, I promise you that you won’t want to leave.